Saco Lake Lodge
February to March 2014 | Second-Year Studio II, Spring 2014 Semester
1st Place Prize, National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA) Competition and Studio Project Award, Round 2
For thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail, few things are more prized than a hot shower and a warm bed. In contrast to the Saco Lake Baths version of the project, this bathhouse at Saco Lake also includes sleeping and dining facilities for up to ten Appalachian Trail thru-hikers. As such, the building is conceptually and programmatically separated into “wet” and “dry” zones - the living and dining areas, and the bathing areas, respectively. The wet and dry zones are separated programmatically by a communal hearth-room and mudroom. While the building is overtly linear in its overall form, the organization of the spaces and circulation within allows for multiple looping pathways that account for the differing needs and rituals of the overnighting hiker versus the daytripping bather.
Here the loadbearing properties of concrete masonry units are used to the utmost of their ability. In a way, the entire building becomes a bearing wall, setting into the hill of the site. The earth cut from this operation is then used to fill in the thickness of the roof. This grade manipulation renders the roof plane - which is a green roof - occupiable. In order to hold up the immense weight of the earth and vegetation, the roof takes the form of a poured-in-place concrete waffle-grid construction. The heaviness of the walls and roof is relieved with a series of slits and skylights that are tuned to provide light to key areas in the building.
In the end we strove to create a building that seemed to emerge from the landscape - not necessarily imitate nature, but appear appropriate to its time and place. Kirk and I likened this to the experience of hiking: many people, when hiking, hope to witness emergent elements of nature - little surprises as you turn the corner; things that apppear different from far away than from close up. Our bath lodge aims to achieve these kinds of double meanings.
Kirk and I were honored to be chosen as recipients of the National Concrete Masonry Association Competition (Round Two) first-place prize for our work on this project.