Cranbrook Wellness Center

The Cranbrook Wellness Center was a year-long project that involved the design of a spa, wellness facilities, and guest rooms on the campus of the architecturally-renown Cranbrook Educational Community. The project program included pools and spa areas, a yoga studio, lobby and communal kitchen, facilities for overnight guests, and related ancillary spaces. Components of the studio throughout the year included an overnight field trip to the Cranbrook campus, a critical examination of the historical context of Cranbrook and its structures, research into materials and precedents related to spa facilities, and the design of passive and active environmental strategies and systems.

A site was selected north of the Eliel Saarinen-designed Boys School, adjacent to a wooded ravine near the 2001 natatorium designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. The design solution responds to the site and program by placing the most publicly-accessible functions at the main ground level. The more private spa areas are on the level below, located in a portion of the building that cuts into the hillside. The guest rooms are on a bar that is lifted one story above ground level, allowing views into the forest canopy from the rooms and from the adjacent athletic field into the ravine. The palette of materials was kept simple, with a strong emphasis on structural honesty and the experience of the facility as a warm, welcome place of relaxation and refuge.

Structures / Environment / Construction StudioFall – Spring 2011
University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning
Studio Critics: Patricia Kucker, Bob Burnham