Gorgeous architecture meets smart design and low-tech solutions at the Safe Haven Bathhouse in Ban Tha Song Yang, Thailand. Part of the Safe Haven Orphanage, the bathhouse is a vast improvement on the previous facilities, which were dark and difficult to keep clean. Trondheim, Norway-based TYIN tegnestue designed and built the bathhouse to complement the nearby library, which the firm also completed. Privacy, sanitation, natural daylight and durability were all important qualities designed into this simple but effective bathhouse.
Completed over a two week period in January of 2009, the new bathhouse provides for the basic sanitation needs of the orphanage. Inside are two pit toilets, a western toilet, washbasins, a shower, and a laundry room. The front exterior facing the rest of the orphanage is covered with a tilted bamboo screen facade to provide privacy within the bathhouse. The screen creates a shaded zone and a hallway across the building connecting the private areas to the public zone. The bathhouse is only partially privatized and is adapted to the local Karen culture. In the middle is an open public area with three washbasins for bathing. Closed rooms on either end contain two pit toilets, a western toilet, and the shower and laundry room.
The biggest concern in designing the bathhouse was management and disposal of sewage, which had to be dealt with on-site. The drainage system also had to be able to contend with the rainy season and safely direct stormwater away. TYIN tegnestue implemented some alternative, low-tech solutions they hope will be applicable for future development in the district. In order to keep the floors and the bathhouse clean and dry, a combination of gravel, stone, and wood was used. Layers of gravel and stone help drain water down and away rather then letting moisture accumulate in the wet rooms. Waste from the toilets passes through pipes and is buried underground. Good personal hygiene is now much easier to achieve with the low maintenance and durable bathhouse that directs and drains water away.
Images ©Pasi Aalto courtesy of TYIN tegnestue