The Lung Mei Bathhouse is located at Lung Mei Beach, a beautiful seafront overlooked by the ridgeline of Mountain Pat Sin Leng in Northeast of Hong Kong. The site is connected to a bicycle trail and nested with diverse outdoor activities, it is also situated right next to the Ting Kok Conservation Area which has beautiful mangroves and sandy shores. The Bathhouse serves to be the icon of the new artificial beach and facilitates the leisure activities at this lively neighbourhood. It is a single-storey building which comprises an observation deck, indoor and outdoor shower area, changing rooms and other supporting facilities. In the middle of the bathhouse is a gentle ramp, which brings visitors from upper level at road and gradually down to changing rooms, outdoor shower area and finally the beach. Trees are planted in front of the buildings to provide comfortable natural shade.
Between Nature and Architecture
Inspired by the beautiful natural settings, the design of Lung Mei Bathhouse strived for openness and borrowed scenery from the site - the Bathhouse is designed as a landform building and organically merged with the seafront. It mediates the level difference between the road and the beach into three intermediate platforms and connects people to the sea. Visitors are firstly welcomed by the observation deck near entrance, which is elevated above the beach providing a panoramic sea view. The roof form of observation deck echoes with the ridgeline of Pat Sin Leng and provides a comfortable sheltered place for people to gather and relax. When descending along the central ramp, people can directly go into a triangular outdoor shower area and take showers under the open sky, or they can use the changing rooms scattered along the intermediate platforms.
New Approach of a Bathhouse
This bathhouse introduced openness in the design and expressed the beautiful natural setting of this site. At the outdoor shower area, a triangular top opening formed the skylight and framed the view of Pat Sing Leng. When showering, one feels as if he is staying in a cavern. Inside the changing room, a stripe of gap is created at the top edge of the walls where natural light and wind is allowed to flush into the interior. The fairface concrete roof appears to detach from the walls and float in the air. Pine wood is applied as the wall lining and washed granolithic finish is used on the bench. The architectural features enhance the connection between visitors and nature inside the bathhouse.
Sustainable Material and Construction Methodology
Building materials are chosen to relate with the nature. The charcoal grey slate tiles relate to the texture and tone of the rocks at the shore; pre-cast concrete walls take the curvilinear form of the natural bamboo-lined mould; and aluminium tubes of the trellis shelter reflect light from various view angles like the shimmering waves. The steel frame of the trellis adopted Modular Integrated Construction (MiC), bolts and nuts fixing were used to connect the modular units to minimise site welding and pollution. Pre-cast concrete wall panels are integrated with reinforcement bracket in the factory, which on one hand erected as the building façade but also acted as the permanent formwork for the reinforced concrete behind.