A hammam, also known as a Turkish bath, is to be built in Bielefeld’s inner city, right next to the Kunsthalle Bielefeld [art gallery]. The design concept, based on a filigree architectural sculpture situated in the city park with its old trees, echoes – above ground – the visual impact exuded by the massive weight of the Kunsthalle’s compact cubic shape.
A hammam, traditionally a place for cleansing both body and soul, provides the perfect space in which to experience all the different spectra of the element of water. Upon entry on the upper floor, the visitor is greeted by a sun-flooded foyer leading to an intimate bath sunken into the ground, which surprises with an abundance of light. The changing rooms are followed by a warm room and a hot room; according to Islamic tradition, cleansing must be performed with flowing water only, scooped up with bowls or under springs. Unlike ancient baths such as in Roman times, Islamic bathing culture does not provide basins with standing water for cleansing.
The interior architecture recreates the microcosm of an oriental bath for its visitors and features two glazed courtyards, the depths of which reflect the water in the relaxation room’s large basin. Visitors delve into another world, shielded from the bustle and the banality of everyday life. Enhanced by the sky’s reflection on the surface of the water in the basin and surrounded by the scent of almond and citrus trees, the project successfully marries the creation of God with the creation of man.