The beneficial aspects of sunlight are numerous, and exposure to daylight has been found in multiple studies to support health, learning, productivity, and good sleep patterns. As architects, we have the opportunity to support the activity in a home, and we often try to bring daylight into rooms where it will be most useful. When we saw this example in the master bathroom of the Hillside Residence located in Kentfield, California, we were excited to share it. Designed by architect Eric Haesloop, the space provides a tranquil expression of light in a bathing space.
The house is carved into a mountain, placing the bathroom up against the rock and buried into the earth. The architect uses the site to his advantage and places an aperture to the sky in the center of the bathroom, directly over the shower. This move creates a wonderful cleansing experience that allows natural light to directly enter the shower then flow into the remaining spaces of the bathroom through a translucent glass wall. Flanking clerestory windows at the ends of the bathroom allow views into the tree canopies.
Without the skylight and connection to nature through the clerestory windows, this room would not resonate as strongly, but because the daylight streams in and highlights the main focal points of the room, this mater bath becomes something truly awakening.