Public clinic and baths for Udaipur, India
Designed during a one-week travel charrette.
Designed during a one-week travel charrete, this bath and clinic acts as a model for development in historic Udaipur. The design shifts building mass to produce new public space directed towards its neighboring community while offering important sanitary amenities.
The prescribed clinic program uses the ground floor sparingly—only for its entry—allowing spaces to be opened up not only for public toilets, but also public baths, a café, and a line of market stalls (to help relieved displaced businesses from the construction).
These three, new public areas are directed towards the residential community they serve, meanwhile forming a partially open minimalist wall against the high-traffic commercial street.
Forms have been carefully arranged with regards to perspective—not only to produce an optical illusion of flatness along the commercial street—but also to better align with surrounding building heights and to create specific spatialities within the public areas. Space has also been laid out so that patient rooms look over plaza activity and so that all clinic circulation is visible to onlookers.
The predominate material, and the only material visible from the main road, is a stacked slate used in the regional vernacular. This material is unique in its ability to either remain porous (stacked without mortar) or to be sealed, such that—with only one material—spaces like the public toilets can be left open to natural ventilation, while spaces like the surgical area can become controlled environments.
Behind, the flat wall 3-dimensonallizes. The topography of the plaza undulates to create pools of water gathered from an overhead showering fountain—allowing the community to bathe in a traditional manner. In these plazas, a flamboyant reflective gold material is introduced to provide a unique identity to the community’s new architecture and to ‘place’ the form in contemporary Udaipur. Balancing the playful gold and showering fountain, the block forms maintain a level of mystery and sobriety—taking techniques from the Brutalist canon, windows and doors have been hidden through large vertical louvers and deep recesses, with the occasional nurse and patient popping out into the exterior circulation, only to recede into the next block.