Seen from across Herring Cove, the National Park Service’s new Herring Cove bath house pavilions, which opened in 2013, seem almost to be levitating over the beach. Well, indeed they are. Several feet. The entire complex is on pilings, allowing surge waves to pass underneath, as well as to allow the entire complex to be moved farther upland if necessary. That is one of several attractions designed into the $5 million project by its architect and project manager, Amy Sebring, of the park service’s design and construction division.
The several pavilions together create a sense of a small town square. Picnic tables at the heart of the square are shaded by a lovely trellis structure whose complex shadows create a show of their own. There are purely outdoor showers — basically upright standpipes — and also an indoor shower pavilion with enormous screened clerestory windows that make it feel like outdoors. Sea creatures formed of patterned shingles frolic on the key facades. All in, Sebring has shown that contemporary vernacular architecture can be contextual without being cliché. The general contractor was Classic Site Solutions of Springfield.
Opening day was 11 July 2013. Music was provided by Zoë Lewis and the Rubber Band. Refreshments came from Far Land Provisions, of 150 Bradford Street, the newly designated concessionaire at Herring Cove. ¶ Posted 2013-10-31