Maya Chandler


Site, to an architect, should comprise not only the topographical and physical markers of the place, but also the cultural, historical, atmospheric, ritualistic, or intangible qualities of place. New projects ask us to examine what has preceded the proposed architecture and invite it into the work that we place on a site—not ignoring the past, mowing it down, or covering it up—but allowing it to point us in the direction of an architectural intervention. This project redesigns the historic Albemarle County Jail in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia, into a bathhouse. The place-based bathhouse design acknowledges several key elements in the jail’s historical past, transforming them from negative aspects into sources of rejuvenation and renewal. In doing so, it explores ways that we as architects and everyday citizens imagine spaces as well as discover ways of making meaningful and original architectural form. This online version of the project privileges images and designs, treating the accompanying text as supplementary.