Lead ArchitectAby Helfon, Ramón Helfon
Design TeamJosé Cabrera
Text description provided by the architects. In the Jewish faith the Mikveh is a purifying bath. This priviness is achieved though the immersion in “pure” water, in this case, rain water.
We decided to start from a spiral concept in a way that the distribution and shape of the project lead the user to the center of the project, in a ritual to achieve spiritual cleanness and return to the purest state of man, and finally finish at the center of the project, the Mikveh or tub.
On its exterior, the projects volume is rigid and sober, closed. It’s covered on prefabricated concrete panels; the volume is sectioned by a series of retractions and slots that barely allow to see what happens inside the different sections.
The surrounding patio functions as a contemplation space, with an arid esplanade that touches vegetation on its limits. The interior becomes a space that links concepts like warmth and pureness.
The material, stony on its majority, are light color and reflect the idea of cleanliness in contrast to details in warm tones of wood and bronze. The walls are the ones that define the use of each space and the ones that guide the user to carry on the adequate and specific path required.
The lobby is the only public space inside the project and works as well as a waiting room. A bronze lattice is displayed in a way that helps radiate warm light into the space. Going through the first door that separates the common area to the rest of the spaces, the user encounters a “dry corridor” that guides the user along a continuous grey terrazzo wall.
On the opposite side the corridor a division of three solid marble volumes is met, these three volumes are the bathrooms that work as prepping spaces to go to the Mikveh. On their interior, warm colors like oak wood and wood-like porcelain are displayed, and marble for wet areas.
Each bathroom has at the same time a second door that leads to the “wet corridor.” This is where for the first-time water from the tub is visible under a floating wall. The woman must follow the perimeter of this wall on the spiral path to the center of the project, the Mikveh, which is lit with natural lighting from a translucid veil covered dome that make the light soft and diffuse. The tub’s water is rain water, which must be collected naturally and can’t be in contact with man or any material that isn’t stony or soil.
Once the immersion process is completed, the user follows the same path backwards, going to its respective bathroom, the dry corridor, and finally this time the exit is found through the terrazzo wall that leads to a common dresser and then exit without going through the lobby but directly to the patio where all started.