AquaTektur #4 - Chinese physical culture and the global bathroom

The bathroom in a dialogue of cultures

Beijing 2006. China’s 3,000 year old bathing and physical culture and present-day conceptions of the bathroom provided the exciting framework for the fourth AquaTektur workshop.  Eight renowned architects from Asia and Europe met near Beijing to discuss alternatives to standard bathroom architecture at the invitation of Axor, the designer brand of HansgroheSE. The intensive discussion on “Chinese physical culture and the global bathroom” gave rise to the development of new perspectives on the relations between man, space and water. This was evidenced by the designs and sketches presented at the end of the event.The AquaTektur event series is an Axor initiative that aims to work with creative designers from around the world to develop the world of bathrooms.

Ideas for the new water experience

The exchange of opinions between the participants and the concentrated focus on the bathroom brought about entirely new room concepts. From a water-carrying “carpet” that moves through a sequence of rooms (Ernst U. Tillmanns, Germany) to the hotel bathroom that incorporates other living requirements of a room (Jean-Phillipe Nuel, France). Several designers produced their own interpretations of the bathroom as a meeting place. They dealt with the changes to requirements and the conflicting relationship between private and public domains. Their architectural visions included living rooms that become bathrooms and bathrooms that overcome the traditional restrictions of being solely for personal hygiene and use suitable furniture to become multi-functional rooms for living (Francesco Veenstra, Netherlands). An innovative approach, especially for small areas.

Impulses for bathroom architecture

AquaTektur is a fundamental form of research that promotes forward-thinking on bathrooms and gives rise to the development of new design solutions – without any constraints from products or precise construction specifications. Saving resources and ecological behaviour are given the utmost priority during the planning process. In the sketches developed in the AquaTektur workshop in Beijing, intelligent control systems and natural materials provided clear evidence that sustainability will play a major role in the bathroom of the future – across all cultures. 

AquaTektur 4: the participants

Minsuk Cho, Mass Studies, Seoul
Steve Leung, Steve Leung Architects, Hong Kong
Sunny Chen, MADA s.p.a.m., Shanghai
Jean-Philippe Nuel, Agence Nuel, Nogent-sur Marne
Bjarne Ringstad, CODE, Oslo
Ernst Ulrich Tillmanns, Architektenbüro 4a, Stuttgart
Johannes Tovatt, Tovatt Architects & Planners, Drottningholm
Francesco Veenstra, Mecanoo, Delft

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