Saturday , 22 July 2017

NotaNumber Architects – Thessaloniki’s Wet Dream

Introducing NotaNumber Architects:

NaNA is an architectural studio preoccupied with the creation of meaningful space. Founded in London in 2008 by Ermis Adamantidis and Dominiki Dadatsi, NaNA has since been involved in a diverse range of projects spanning from space installations to urban planning. In 2010 NaNA was joined by Madhav Kidao specializing in digital fabrication and interactive architecture.

Engaging in a constructive dialogue with the client, we unleash a unique vision for every project. We invest time in testing ideas that make architecture perform in multiple levels. Design research and critical analysis instead of predefined formulas is what we believe can make architecture resonate in contemporary cultures. Thinking on architecture and not just building it has allowed NaNA to demonstrate an ability to undertake a variety of projects ranging in size, type, complexity, cultural and geographical context.

Thessaloniki’s Wet Dream

Public Thermal Bath
Thessaloniki, Greece
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The project is a proposal for a subterranean public bath beneath a central urban plaza with a glazed roof at street level. The proposal sets to re-establish Thessaloniki’s long lasting culture of public baths as a form of built social space par excellence. Since ancient times public baths have played a central role in the unfolding of the city’s social life which under the mantle of physical culture and relaxation presented the opportunity for the most informal encounters. Roman thermae, Byzantine baths and Ottoman hammams are still evident in the city’s urban fabric, the first in the form of archaeological findings and the other two as preserved historic buildings turned into museums.

A set of inverted arches, domes and cupolas organize the space of the public baths into an almost labyrinthic set of interconnected pools for the various water treatments. The activity in the pools is exposed at street level through a walkable glass floor giving the impression of bathers floating inside a temple. A grid of plane trees is planted in the inverted columns of the arcades functioning as a uniform shading canopy for the plaza and the baths underneath.
Visitors descend to the level of the pools via three wells with spiral staircases. A sequence of sanitary facilities, washrooms, showers and cloakrooms surround the main bathing hall preparing the visitor for a ceremonial experience of body wellness. The bathing complex comprises 10 pools including one 40 x 8 metre sports pool, four round pools with a gradation of warm water, an adventure pool and a water play park with cascades, two square pools for special hydrotherapy treatment and an oval grotto-like hall with bubbling jets and whirlpool. The thermal pool landscape is interrupted by rest areas and passages that lead to more private halls for sauna, aromatic steam bathing and massage therapies.

All images and text from NotaNumber Architects.

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