BATHPOD

BATHPOD, 2008

Located in San Francisco, this 850 s.f. addition to a 2,700 s.f. mid-century modern house was originally designed by Henry Hill in 1955. The addition is comprised of a master bedroom suite, library, and child’s room. The existing house’s character is the product of a unique lot with a steep switch-back twisting around the end, where a turret anchors the house, with a strong modernist composition of four intersecting volumes. The primary views are to the Golden Gate and the Headlands, framed by the broadest expanse of windows of the addition. The same window detailing and mullion cadence for the existing living room is extruded up through the addition, knitting together and reestablishing the primary volume of the house to include the addition. The new bathroom, or Bathpod, hovering above the wooden exoskeleton of the existing turret, is a fiberglass composite monocoque shell structure, oriented upward with a private skylight view into the canopy of trees. The toroidal form of the bathroom is informed by bathing activities, a continuous molded interior landscape and a void for the existing chimney passing through from below. The highly technical aspects of this project included receiving the first Building Department approval for use of load bearing fiberglass composites in San Francisco. I worked closely with an engineer from Lockheed on the Finite Element Analysis, addressing issues of producibility through the creation of test samples, cross referencing the US Coast Guard, racing, aeronautical standards and practice with building code standards, and consulted with a boat builder. The iterative design loop that this project entailed is representative of my interdisciplinary practice. Photos: © Bruce Tomb; All Rights Reserved

Bathpod viewed from the street
View from the Northeast
Bathpod interior
Bathpod model
Bath Pod Site Plan1
Bedroom1
Box Seats detail best_crop

The juxtaposition of the the Bathpod with its fiberglass composite shell dramatically cantilevered over the delicate exoskeleton of the existing glazed turret, emphasizes a minimal structural impact of the addition on this building of historic significance while asserting a bold contemporary design. The modernist building technologies of the 1950's are complimented with the promise of contemporary lightweight and cutting-edge systems borrowed from aerospace, automotive and marine industries applied to architecture.

The extrusion of the main floor volume for the bedroom addition, on the top floor, also draws the window system from the living room below, upward, providing an expanse of windows framing views of the Golden Gate.

Study showing the interior fiberglass landscape of the sinks, shower and bathtub, looking through a transparent roof. The rectangular cuts in the shell accommodate for architectural elements providing access and framing views.

A compositional and material study of the existing stucco turret base, the strong horizontal plane of the roof, the extrusion of the new black stained wood bedroom volume through the roof, and the translucent fiberglass Bathpod cantilevered over the turret and conjoined with the bedroom. The chimney from the living room below is drawn up through the center of the Bathpod generating a toroidal form in the configuration of the bathing functions within and punctuates the roof. The translucent composite roof frames a view up into the canopy of trees and receives their dappled light and shadows.

Site Plan showing the winding switchback street that defines the unusual peninsular and very public lot.

Bedroom 2001. This piece of furniture provides a backstory and prefigures the Bathpod both materially and formally with its translucent fiberglass monocoque shell and the wooden box, varnished on the interior and stained black on the exterior. The two elements are conjoined incorporating Boolean operations. Materially and formally, the two elements are mutually exclusive and incomplete, while spatially and structurally they form a union. This furniture was conceived as a tiny room, based upon a twin mattress, and is easily moveable with its teflon glides. As with many of my furniture works, this piece is instrumental in redefining architectural space by its placement in a larger room.

Boxseats 2002. This series (3 of 6 pieces), shows another investigation influencing the Bathpod's development of sight lines both outward and inward. As with the Bedroom they are black wooden boxes, but here anamorphic projections are cut into the volume. The projections are silhouettes of a singular sleeping figure repeated, as if it were possible to see multiple perspectives simultaneously, but due to the difference in perspectives and sight lines, they appear as different shapes in a different position on each box.

Bathpod viewed from the street thumbnail
Bathpod thumbnail
Bathpod interior thumbnail
Bathpod model thumbnail
Bath Pod Site Plan1 thumbnail
Bedroom1 thumbnail
Box Seats detail best_crop thumbnail