Yes, Your Home Can Have An Outdoor Shower
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Yes, Your Home Can Have An Outdoor Shower

Design pros say owners of suburban and city dwellings increasingly want to enjoy the thrill of sudsing up in the fresh air.

By Allison Duncan
Fri, Aug 12, 2022 9:43amGrey Clock 2 min

LATHERING UP OUTDOORS is among life’s most wholesome kicks. Sun hits body parts that rarely see the light of day while water falls like rain beneath blue sky. Why must one wait for a stay at the beach to enjoy a fresh-air scrub?

One needn’t, says New York City designer David Frazier: “Outdoor showers enliven a daily task and are becoming increasingly popular in metropolitan locales,” he said. Outside stalls exemplify biophilic design—a trend connecting people to nature that has surged during the pandemic, said Graeme Labe, principal at hospitality design firm Luxury Frontiers in Johannesburg, South Africa. His studio recently outfitted luxury resort Camp Sarika by Amangiri in Canyon Point, Utah, with shower cabinets that open onto a soul-soothing vista of red-sand desert mesas.

To a greater degree than their country cousins, outdoor “city” showers must balance privacy with delicious exposure to the elements—unless commissioned by exhibitionists. Designers rely on everything from frosted-glass cubicle walls to portable folding screens to ensure discretion without killing the view or the al fresco feel, says New York architect Philip Consalvo. Mr. Frazier walled one outdoor shower in a West Point, Ga., home with a mix of pierced brick and horizontal cedar slats. Fresh air can squeeze through but nosy eyes can’t.

In a well-secluded yard, you can just slap a faucet against a wall and plumb it. Otherwise, you need walls to block the neighbours’ sightlines. In Austin, Texas, designer Claire Zinnecker and architecture firm Alterstudio were tasked with creating a plein-air shower for clients who had only side neighbours to contend with. They created a roomy but private alcove enclosed on three sides by a teak fence, a tan-brick wall and glass doors to an interior bathroom.

Lush vegetation can help. The walled garden of furniture designer Glenn Lawson’s 1920s Spanish revival home in Los Angeles is jungle-y enough that just two shower partitions sufficed. He chose inexpensive, naturally waterproof stucco to align with his architecture.

If your shower is surrounded by taller buildings, modesty requires more cover overhead. Susana Simonpietri, founder of design firm Chango & Co., topped the stall in her Brooklyn townhome’s garden with a trellis and encouraged climbing vines to make it opaque.

In Sharon, Conn., textile designer John Robshaw fitted a shower rig to his suburban home’s shingle siding so he could rinse off after tending to his garden. Though he shielded his setup from neighbours’ eyes by planting flowering dogwood, he realized his own guest-room windows posed a problem. The shower, he said, was “tricky to use when guests are in town.” Interior drapes offered a solution.

Reprinted by permission of Mansion Global. Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication:  August 11, 2022.


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Wild cities and concrete corridors: How AI is reimagining the landscape

A new AI-driven account by leading landscape architect Jon Hazelwood pushes the boundaries on the role of ‘complex nature’ in the future of our cities

By Robyn Willis
Wed, Dec 6, 2023 2 min

Drifts of ground cover plants and wildflowers along the steps of the Sydney Opera House, traffic obscured by meadow-like planting and kangaroos pausing on city streets.

This is the way our cities could be, as imagined by landscape architect Jon Hazelwood, principal at multi-disciplinary architectural firm Hassell. He has been exploring the possibilities of rewilding urban spaces using AI for his Instagram account, Naturopolis_ai with visually arresting outcomes.

“It took me a few weeks to get interesting results,” he said. “I really like the ephemeral nature of the images — you will never see it again and none of those plants are real. 

“The AI engine makes an approximation of a grevillea.”

Hazelwood chose some of the most iconic locations in Australia, including the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, as well as international cities such as Paris and London, to demonstrate the impact of untamed green spaces on streetscapes, plazas and public space.

He said he hopes to provoke a conversation about the artificial separation between our cities and the broader environment, exploring ways to break down the barriers and promote biodiversity.

“A lot of the planning (for public spaces) is very limited,” Hazelwood said. “There are 110,000 species of plants in Australia and we probably use about 12 in our (public) planting schemes. 

“Often it’s for practical reasons because they’re tough and drought tolerant — but it’s not the whole story.”

Hazelwood pointed to the work of UK landscape architect Prof Nigel Dunnett, who has championed wild garden design in urban spaces. He has drawn interest in recent years for his work transforming the brutalist apartment block at the Barbican in London into a meadow-like environment with diverse plantings of grasses and perennials.

Hazelwood said it is this kind of ‘complex nature’ that is required for cities to thrive into the future, but it can be hard to convince planners and developers of the benefits.

“We have been doing a lot of work on how we get complex nature because complexity of species drives biodiversity,” he said. 

“But when we try to propose the space the questions are: how are we going to maintain it? Where is the lawn?

“A lot of our work is demonstrating you can get those things and still provide a complex environment.” 

At the moment, Hassell together with the University of Melbourne is trialling options at the Hills Showground Metro Station in Sydney, where the remaining ground level planting has been replaced with more than 100 different species of plants and flowers to encourage diversity without the need for regular maintenance. But more needs to be done, Hazelwood said.

“It needs bottom-up change,” he said. ““There is work being done at government level around nature positive cities, but equally there needs to be changes in the range of plants that nurseries grow, and in the way our city landscapes are maintained and managed.”

And there’s no AI option for that. 


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