Christopher Ford | Stable Flux

Stable Flux


Stable Flux is an exploration and experimentation of “process” manifested as a physical and mental rehabilitation center in the middle of the Coachella Valley that utilizes the healing powers of the water below to provide a unique approach to the programming of hospitality spaces. Coachella Valley presents a duality on the grandest of scales as it is well known for the luxury and decadence of Palm Springs while hiding the dark truth that the remaining local communities have been decimated with drug use, high crime rates, and an alarming rate of birth defects. Located on a fault line that separates the hot and cold aquifers below, this rehabilitation center relies on this preexisting duality to deliver a unique healing environment marketing to two distinct clienteles. Through the use of careful space planning and programmatic layout, this center is able to provide the luxury and privacy that would be demanded by paying customers looking for a quiet place to rehab an injury or work on their mental state while simultaneously providing programs such as job training, mental health services, and physical therapy currently not being provided to the disenfranchised communities throughout the Valley.

Gathering influence from a wide range of source such as a German philosopher, the working drawings of a local architect, the local design aesthetic, and the key features of the site; this rehabilitation center is successfully able to balance the programmatic duality while allowing for the cross contamination of experiences through the use of three key programmatic elements as incubators for this experience. These incubators are comprised of the gymnasium, common eatery, and of course thermal pools of varying sizes, temperatures, and intimacy levels. Using a fully integrated circulation system, the temperature of each pool is controlled by a complex system of water voids contained within the walls that help to thermally regulate the internal temperature of the structure. This results in a building that functions both as a literal machine carrying out the role of thermal regulation of both air and water while also functioning as a machine for healing at both the scale of the individual and the community as a whole.