Built in 1968, the structurally compromised Somerset pool and bathhouse were renovated to provide elegant shelter, shade and pleasant gathering space for the community. This renovation transformed a 40-year-old uninviting bathhouse into an award-winning architectural gem:
- 2012 –Excellence in Design Honor Award from AIA Maryland
- 2012 – AIA Potomac Valley Chapter Design Awards Winner
- 2015 – Design Excellence Award Jury Citation Winner
The Somerset bathhouse is located in a 6-acre property at the intersection of Falstone and Warwick Avenues. The facility was built prior to many of the current environmental regulations. As result, most of the property was located in the Little Falls Branch stream buffer, and immediately adjacent to the floodplain associated with the stream.
Approval from the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission was crucial to make any improvements to the bathhouse. Therefore, this project’s location in an environmentally sensitive area presented very unique challenges:
- Complex engineering planning and permitting considerations.
- Smart design to avoid increasing impervious surface.
- Compliance with the established “limits of disturbance.”
- Effective use of stormwater management solutions.
The renovation of the Somerset pool and bathhouse included:
- Newly constructed wetland.
- Bioretention facilities to capture stormwater run-off.
- Root aeration matting to protect trees in the 4.24 acres of high-priority forest.
- Site improvements such as: parking lot reconfiguration, relocation of subsurface utilities, landscaping, and shade structures.
- New wading pool, terrace and dining areas.
- Improvements to meet current accessibility standards.
- Reconfiguration of interior spaces and structural repairs.
The project retained the existing footprint of the original bathhouse. The new roof incorporated lightweight wood trusses. These wood trusses were constructed from timbers salvaged during demolition. The roof design shaped an attractive and open configuration that naturally ventilates and lights the bathhouse. Moreover, the addition of bioretention facilities and wetlands created a positive contribution to the water quality in the area.
This project’s smart design renders the small pool house an elegant jewel in the center of the community park. Currently, the site is a major gathering place in Somerset, and the center of community life during the summer.
VIKA was involved since the planning of this project. VIKA’s services included:
- Site survey
- Natural Resources Inventory (NRI)
- Forest Conservation Plan
- Wetland delineation and permitting
- Stormwater Management Plan
- Sediment Control Plan.