Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture
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Saco Lake Wellness Center

Saco Lake Wellness Center

Saco Lake, NH - Spring 2016

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Saco Lake is located in White Mountain National Forest in rural New Hampshire, close to the Appalachian Trail.

The Saco Lake Wellness Center is a bathhouse, sauna, and retreat overlooking Saco Lake and the surrounding forest. The facility provides two experiences, one indoor, one outdoor.

The indoor experience takes visitors through a set of dressing rooms, down into the rock through a narrow passageway where they encounter a small frigidarium (cold pool). Once they have taken a plunge, daylight from recessed skylights leads them to a tepidarium (warm pool), nestled in the woods with a view between the trees.

A dramatic view over Saco Lake and the forest, provided by a large picture window leads visitors down a flight of stairs to the caldarium (hot pool), where they can relax and take in the view. Saunas are located adjacent to the caldarium. After bathing, visitors can ascend through a separate staircase back to the changing rooms and the hiking trail.

The outdoor experience at the wellness center takes hikers up on to the roof of the bathhouse, into the canopy of the forest. Here, they can take in views of the stunning natural scenery, and gather for barbecues and social events at the fireplaces and braziers provided. The complex intersects the hiking trail such that all hikers ascend on to the roof, and are able to catch at least a glimpse of the magnificent view before continuing their hike on the other side of the facility.

The Saco Lake Wellness Center was developed as part of my coursework for the Spring 2016 Studio.

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