Japanese onsen could be easily assembled in the world’s natural environments...
says Tim Gledstone of Squire and Partners
This project is inspired by the Japanese onsen - mineral rich waters from volcanic regions in heated pools for a traditional ceremony of meditation, relaxation and cleansing. The bathing experience involves deep cleansing and submersion in a hot bath to allow the body to release tensions, subdue the senses and appreciate the beauty of nature - sometimes with the help of some local sake.
The reinterpretation of a Japanese onsen is designed to be easily assembled, with a series of specialist lightweight aluminium components that are combined with low-tech local materials and craftmanship once the frame is in position. The structure channels local spring or river water, which is then heated in a woodburner before being routed to the relaxation pool.
Simple changing and meditative spaces inside the enclosure are clad in local natural materials, and offer a clear view through to the natural world beyond.
Tim Gledstone is a partner at Squire and Partners, an award-winning architecture practice best known for designing projects that range from small bespoke fit-outs to large-scale urban masterplans, on key sites in London and abroad for more than 35 years. Having lived, worked in Japan and spent time there regularly over the past 20 years, Tim is passionate about the connection between the senses and the environment. His projects respond to underlying themes of nature, materiality and detailing, while revealing a commitment to contemporary design and an appreciation for craft.