Architecture is creative problem solving, as well as problem creating. Ideas with respect to people’s interaction, movement, containment and experience of space are pondered, and expressed through design.
An attempt to transport the visitor to a familiar yet non-specific place outside NYC, this spa on West Houston manipulates light and sound, as well as material and spatial tightness. To enter the spa, the visitor walks through an elongated ‘portal’ that is completely white and acts as a blank slate, erasing all stimuli associated with the surrounding city. After emerging through the pinched space one finds him or herself in a warm and inviting spa, which not only looks different from the cityscape but also blocks out street noise and filters natural sun light through the porous roof panels. Subsequent portals further the transportation experience as the user moves between rooms.
In a world where time travel and instantaneous teleportation is possible, this spa, once ahead of its time, begins to feel outdated and sub-par. Transporting visitors metaphorically becomes unappealing and therefore, membership rates and attendance figures drop dramatically. Despite being forced to close down and reevaluate its capabilities and services, “Tran-spa-tation” is not a dead concept yet. Owners are currently seeking an even larger site, and working with architects and technicians to bring this spa experience into the 22nd century, making the transportation a reality.