OCULI PART 1. GRADUATE DESIGN 1 | FALL 2018
Residing within the intensely dry, cold climate of the Tibetan Himalayas, this project uses traditional scales and configurations common of the region to justify its contextual ties and climactic reactions. The forms are inspired primarily by traditional Dzong architecture of the region, and is thus designed to appear as multiple volumes with narrow, individual footprints. The program itself is a place of refuge within the harsh climate, acting primarily as a bath and sauna. To further connect the construction with its climate, two massive oculi bring in and transform water through its three forms (ice/snow, water, steam).
The two oculi, which are conal openings for water, are shaped to either capture snow falling from the landscape, or to hold rising steam. Both oculi are held above a pool of water, which acts as a calming bath for visitors and as a mediator of water between its most extreme forms (snow/ice and steam). The cold oculus allows for snow to drip in the pool, while the water is then reheated in a more controlled environment, causing steam to rise and creating a sauna experience for the visitors.
OCULI PART 2. GRADUATE DESIGN 1 | FALL 2018
In direct opposition to the last project, this site is located within the extremely hot and humid climate of Southern India. On the threshold between mountainscape and open clearing, the interweaving of volumes plays a vital role in circulating between the two landscape typologies. Also considered a refuge from its harsh context, this bathhouse uses the movement of water to create a pleasant experience. Its forms are derived from the sectional qualities of a traditional Indian stepwell, where mass and void have been inverted to better tie in with its surroundings.
The occupiable oculus here draws in water that slowly seeps from a shallow pool before plummeting to the larger inhabited pool below. Within the oculus, one can feel the rush of water around them as it slowly creeps in from all sides. Below, the harsh fall of water creates a calming mist within the shaded portion of the pool. This extreme evaporative cooling technique and its protection from the sun allows for a much more pleasant experience in the intense heat of the site.