Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson

Cincinnati, OH, US


Experience Through Subtraction: Cranbrook Wellness Center

The new wellness center building must fit into the existing fabric of the Cranbrook campus while strengthening its existing organizational structure. The nature of the spa program, however, requires a certain amount of privacy to assure the comfort of guests.

This building will address the privacy needs of the spa’s occupants, while remaining a part of the campus’s social and experiential infrastructure. 

The issue of privacy is addressed by placing the guest services to the north of the site in dialogue with the woods. The spa program is articulated as an experiential space and is pulled away from the service block and into the public realm of the grand allee.

The therapy baths, sauna and steam rooms, and massage therapy rooms interact with the facade in different ways to create unique experiences on the walkway below.  Each programmatic volume also has skylights specifically articulated according to the quality of light desired in each space. 

The massage therapy rooms, therapy baths, sauna, and studio are lifted above the public ground plane to retain an element of privacy and create a public path beneath the building. This path has a direct relationship with the experiential programming above it. 

This walkway integrates the building into the grand allee and the surrounding campus by allowing the general public to interact with the building, rather than reserving the experiences for those staying at the wellness center. 

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Status: School Project
Location: Bloomfield Hills, MI, US