The Wellness Center is an addition to the diverse setting of the Cranbrook campus. It finds its place in the middle of the promenade connecting the Eliel Saarinen’s Art Museum and Natatorium. The building flanks the Natatorium to create a coherent connection between the two recreational facilities. The building is sunken into the graded landscape for not to obstruct the view along the promenade and benefit from the earthen thermal insulation.
The exterior is a simple elongated box with the interior, on the other hand, informed by the diagonal axis that connects with the nearby lake, creating a symbolic link between the man-made and the natural. A tall and narrow “meditative” pool traverses the box opening the view to the sky. The first level accommodates the main pool joint with the meditative pool, yoga studio and saunas. The second level houses four guest rooms and recreational areas.
The wooden façade of the building conforms to the overall scale of the campus and formally responds to the pine forest setting. The vertical planks of the facade have varying widths to create a rich visual experience. They are joint by smaller horizontal planks that break down the monolith of the building enclosure. Under the facade’s wooden skin there is a curtain wall insulated from within by translucent pillows containing strands of extruded white polyethylene that permit natural daylight.