The Waters Bathing Collective is a worker-owned bathhouse—a comfortable and beautiful environment accessible to all races, gender expressions and backgrounds. The bathhouse will be open to the public as well as monthly-dues paying members. A modest cafe will serve simple beverages and delicious snacks.
The Waters is a project focused on sharing the delight, wellness and health benefits of soaking, sauna and steam with bathers of the Bay Area and beyond. We see it as an opportunity to build a brick and mortar community space in our shared neighborhood.
For much of the world, bathhouses are community. They’re public spaces to gather and socialize through the communal acts of cleansing, soaking and bathing in pools of various temperatures, saunas and steam rooms. From Finnish saunas to Turkish hammams, Japanese onsens to Icelandic hot pools, bathhouses are shared spaces that foster health and collective wellness.
From the urban bathhouses of the Carnegie Libraries, to the remote hot springs of Colorado, Americans, too, have long enjoyed bathing. As more civic and social activity moves to the cloud, new bathhouses in cities like New York, Portland, and Seattle are popping up as beloved brick and mortar commons.
In addition to the important community function of bathhouses, the health benefits of bathing are well outlined by numerous traditions of health and medicine. These benefits include general detoxification, improved circulation, reduced inflammation, muscle and joint therapy, improved immune system performance, skin health and exfoliation, reduced risk of respiratory and heart illnesses, and many, many more.
Hot soaking pools (104°, 103°, 101°), cold plunge, sauna, and steam room - all in a bright and beautiful tiled bathing area overflowing with lush vegetation and dotted with spaces for rest and relaxation.
Simple and refreshing meals in the attached cafe, with a selection of teas and kombucha. A rotation of pop-up dinners.
Workshops through social and cultural programming that foster a strong and diverse community of bathers. Stretch class in the morning, discounted days for elders, public talks, and moonlight soaks.
We’ve created a unique plan for the buildout which involves placing the soaking pools above the slab, rather than excavating them into the ground. These elevated pools will then be surrounded with a raised deck, "draped" with a layer of tiles, which will form the floor of the bathing area.
This is beneficial for several main reasons: flexibility of design, simplicity of construction, concealed systems, ease of maintenance and low long-term impact.
The Waters is founded on a culture of inclusivity, bringing together a diverse clientele united by the desire to relax, unplug, and soak. Our bathhouse is a body positive space that welcomes people who may often experience exclusion, including trans and queer folks, disabled and differently-abled people, people of color, and other marginalized groups.
Our business is structured to keep entrance fees low so that a visit to The Waters is something that people can do on a weekly or even daily basis, rather than just a once- or twice-a-year special occasion. We will offer reduced rate memberships to allied organizations and groups, such as local cooperatives, aligned non-profits, community organizations, and local unions. Through membership benefits and pricing, we hope to build a community of regular bath-goers who see the bath as a special part of their life in the Bay.
The Waters Bathing Collective is a worker-owned business, composed of a team of democratically organized operators that embodies our community of bathers. Leadership is currently shared by its two founding members, but will eventually expand into a 10- to 12-member collective of owner/operators.
Amy Louie (Founding Member)
Amy is a designer from New York who moved to the Bay Area to pursue her Master of Architecture at UC Berkeley where she was the recipient of the 2019 Mario Ciampi Art in Architecture Award and the 2018 John K. Branner Traveling Fellowship. As a part of this fellowship, Amy spent three months traveling to Iceland, Morocco, Switzerland, Germany, Turkey, Hungary, Finland, Korea, and Japan, among other countries, researching bathhouses and public bathing cultures. This research was not only the genesis of The Waters, but has informed every level of its design, organization and ambition. Before beginning her studies in architecture, Amy cooked professionally in several New York City restaurants. Amy received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University. She is currently a Lecturer at UC Berkeley’s Architecture Program.
Cooper Rogers (Founding Member)
Cooper is from the Bay Area and a graduate of the UC Berkeley Master of Architecture program, where he was the recipient of the 2017 Design Workshop Award, 2019 Eisner Prize in Architecture, 2018 Howard Stump Memorial Fellowship and the 2018 John K. Branner Fellowship. He has contributed to and collaborated on a variety of ambitious community projects as a builder and designer, from sets for music videos and films, environmental design for large-scale parties and events, as well as fundraising and design of community spaces for organizations including Court 13 Arts. Cooper first fell in love with bathhouses when visiting Budapest as an 18 year old, delighted by the idea of community spaces entirely dedicated to leisure accessible to working class people. Cooper received his undergraduate degree from Oberlin College.
Bathhouse developments continue on. But we're excited to announce that in the meantime, we're launching a 6-month sauna pop-up for the summer of 2021. Stay tuned for more info.
For inquiries: email@example.com