Bathing Outdoors at El Cosmico

Bathing Outdoors at El Cosmico

Cambria Bold
Oct 24, 2009
(Welcome back Ashley, who's trying out for our Green Architect columnist position. This is her second post. Comment away!)

Something about fall reminds me of how this delightfully moderate weather will soon fall victim to its proceeding, chillier counterpart — namely, winter. Rather than hibernate with escalating heating bills or escape for a more tropical climate (it's a great season for a staycation), consider a warm bath...

While studies shift between blaming baths or otherwise showers for wasting water, the bottom line is to reduce usage with low-flow faucets and aerators where possible and, at best, control the heating source so that it's drawing as little power from the grid as possible. When budgetary concerns arise, know that baths warm your body's core more so than showers and, in the colder months, will help keep you warmer so that you needn't crank the heat all day or night.

For a successful look at bathing outdoors within a unique architectural frame, enter El Cosmico in Marfa, TX. A model for sustainable-style, El Cosmico — a new, modern concept in hoteling— utilizes standard construction materials for clever, exterior purposes.

Solar heating tanks, solely, warm the water for the showers and baths, as the intrinsic vista/view of the milky way above create an ambient backdrop. In tandem, a nice reminder that we needed flog ourselves to death when admitting to enjoying an pleasure as such. When done properly, outdoor bathing can be more-than enjoyable as well as mindful.

The corrugated metal (inherent recycled material of at least 25% in stainless steel) encased showers are surrounded by native plantings, reclaimed and renovated vintage trailers and land-art. It's quite the setting. Each structural and facade material takes on a structural appeal, colors and textures being inherent in each respective material chosen. Inside the showers is locally-made Marfa Brands Soap, a further, smaller-scaled testament to the lesser footprint on the nearly untouched land in far, far West Texas.

Also notable is the future-installation of two Dutchtubs onsite.

Made of a durable polyfiber, these can live outside and look posh whilst doing so. The spiral chimney is made of stainless steel and acts to direct the smoke and maintains the warmth of the fire to prevent it from escaping through the space between the coils.

The tub is comfortable, ergonomic and attractive. Also seen way-back-when here.


Ashley's First Post:

Live/Work/Ski in Utah

All photos by Ashley Compton with the exception of the Dutchtub photos

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