Trenton Bath House and Day Camp Restoration

Restored bath house with recreated entry mural.

When the bath house was completed in 1955, the central plaza around which the four-pavilion complex is oriented was inscribed with an inset circle and filled with gravel. Meant to mimic a fountain, at least in prominence, and to serve as a focal point for the complex, the circle was filled in with concrete over time to comply with ADA codes for universal access.

Over the years, large cracks formed in some of the concrete walls, especially at the points directly under the drip line of the roof. The concrete block discolored, and the floor slabs heaved and buckled over time.


The full design team, which included Farewell Mills Gatsch (FMG) and Heritage Landscapes, carefully studied Kahn's 1955 plan for the bath house, pool, and day camp, as well as an extensive landscape scheme that was never completed.

When FMG studied the existing campus, it learned about many changes that had occurred over time: Two day camp pavilions were nearing collapse, and a snack bar and propane shack had been tacked onto the side of the western bath house pavilion.

South Elevation

As part of its restoration plan, FMG removed a ramshackle snack bar and replaced it with a new one more sympathetic to Kahn's aesthetic. Located along what was Kahn's planned-but-never-built perimeter wall for the complex, this new pavilion sits within the grid established by the bath house. "The idea is not to in any way upstage it [the bath house] or call undue attention to the new piece," says FMG design partner Michael Farewell. The design for the new snack pavilion was the result of an in-house competition at FMG. Built of concrete block, the structure is the physical inverse of Kahn's bath house pavilions: The butterfly roof form resembles Kahn's pyramidal roof, but flipped upside down. The clerestories are there, but instead of being open to the elements, they are enclosed in glass. And instead of being completely monolithic, the side where food is served is permeated by windows.

Now completed, the central courtyard of the bath house features both cleaned and new concrete block, and a darker exposed-aggregate concrete in place of the formerly inset gravel circle. The roofs were restored to their original dark tab shingles.

All partitions and plumbing were updated to current standards, while trying to stay as close to Kahn's plan as feasible.

The day camp pavilions were restored or rebuilt according to Kahn's plan, with some structural improvements.

Bath House Wall Section

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