The "Trenton" Bath House of Louis Kahn
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A pivotal design from one of the masters of modern architecture.

A little known masterpiece, seldom seen, but highly influential.

  It is neither in Trenton, nor is it a bath house, but the so-called "Trenton Bath House" of renowned architect Louis Kahn commands attention from architectural historians around the world. Designed as part of a larger plan (never executed) for the Jewish Community Center of the Delaware Valley, the "bath house" opened in 1955 and served as the entrance and changing area for patrons of an outdoor swimming pool.

  From a design perspective, the bath house is actually appears as a quite simple cruciform shape-- four square concrete block rooms or areas, surrounding an open atrium. Each of the rooms is topped by a simple, wooden rectangular pyramid. At the corner of each room there is a large, open rectangular column that supports the roof . However, closer inspection reveals that in addition to the pure design elegance, Kahn also clarified his thinking about the utilitarian purposes of the various spaces, and it was in this building that he first articulated his notion of spaces serving and spaces served.

    Kahn often spoke of this project as a turning point in his design philosophy, "From this came a generative force which is recognizable in every building which I have done since."

  The Bath House is located at 999 Lower Ferry Road, Ewing, New Jersey.


Designed for fun by Jan Kubik