AS Young Men's Christian Association buildings grew in number they in-creased in importance, so that at the present time they occupy a distinct place in architecture, which entitles them to be considered in a class by themselves. This is due partly to the fact that they combine under one roof some of the distinctive features of several classes of buildings. For instance, athletics being one of the features of the association, these buildings have gymnasiums, swimming-pools, showers and all the accessories which belong to an athletic club.
The social side of the members is encouraged by means of bowling-alleys, reading-rooms, club rooms and association halls. The educational function of the association is made easy by the provision for class rooms, school rooms and assembly rooms, while the hotel feature is to be found in rooms for lodgers, which are rented, without meals, to men. The serving of meals has never been a feature of Young Men's Christian Association work so far, although there seems a tendency in that direction in some quarters at the present time; consequently something in the way of a restaurant or dining-room and kitchen must be provided for in the buildings where meals are to be served, and a kitchen where meals can be prepared for banquets should be provided in all buildings of this class.
Turkish baths usually form part of the general bathing facilities in such buildings and will be found incorporated in most of the plans.
It is but reasonable to suppose that a building which combines so many different features must contain a great deal of plumbing work, and such is the case. In the basement, where the swimming-pool is generally located, will be found a number of shower baths, so that the bathers can cleanse their persons before plunging into the pool of water. Close by the showers will usually be found the Turkish bath rooms, with their various combinations of dry-heat and vapor-heat compartments, electric baths, light baths, and all the various other appliances which belong to the department of bathing.
A general toilet room will usually be found on this floor, as well as separate toilets and lavatories of a less general nature, an engineers' or janitors' toilet room, and a boiler room in which is located the heating apparatus for supplying hot water not only to the building proper but also to the swimming pool.
Usually the first story of the building contains the least plumbing of any of the floors. This is because the first story is generally occupied by the main lobby, office, gymnasium and a few department headquarters, which do away with the necessity for any great number of plumbing fixtures. A drinking fountain of sanitary type will be found desirable for this floor, as it likewise will for each floor of the building, and fire lines should not be overlooked when preparing the plumbing plan and writing the specifications.
The second story of the building generally contains an assembly room, which may be used for lectures, exhibits, class recitations and various other purposes. In order that concert and like entertainments may be given, a couple of dressing rooms, each containing a lavatory, will not be amiss. A kitchen on this floor, communicating with the assembly room, will be found convenient in case of banquets or other celebrations in the building.
Above the second floor, unless some of this space is required for association work, the building is partitioned off into sleeping rooms, to be rented to lodgers, the same as rooms in a hotel. This necessitates providing washing, bathing and toilet facilities on such floors of the building as are given over to this purpose. Usually the washing accommodations are grouped together in one room, where all the lodgers repair for a wash. When there is sufficient money available, however, to pay for the extra work, separate lavatories in each room will be found more desirable, and the increased price which can be charged for rooms with running water will soon repay the original outlay. The bathing facilities on the various floors of Young Men's Christian Association buildings usually consist of shower baths. However, where female help is employed to keep the building clean, the maids' toilet should be as fully equipped as the bath room in a private house, and should contain an ordinary bath tub instead of a shower bath. It is well, likewise, to provide at least one bath tub on each floor of the building, for the benefit of those who would prefer a tubbing to a shower.
It goes without saying that all water used in a building of this character should be filtered and that the supply pipes should be well proportioned, so that a copious flow of water can be had at all times at all fixtures without the annoyance of one faucet robbing another.
The plans for a Young Men's Christian Association building may be seen in the five accompanying illustrations. In Fig. 91 is shown the basement floor, which contains the Turkish baths, swimming pool, general toilet room and a battery of showers, besides some scattered toilet rooms. This floor may be considered as having most of the plumbing features belonging to an athletic club.
The first floor plan is shown in Fig. 92. This floor contains, besides the general lobby, general office and gymnasium, a special exercise room, examination room and physical director's office, and a few scattered toilet rooms.
The layout of the second floor is shown in Fig. 93, a toilet room off the visitors' gallery, another opening off from the ladies' parlor and a kitchen sink being all the plumbing installed on this floor.
In Fig. 94 is shown a plan of the third floor. The only fixtures on this floor are the sink in the dark room and a general toilet room for the use of the occupants of this floor.
The fourth, fifth and sixth floors are shown in Fig. 95. These floors are designed for use as dormitories and contain no fixtures outside of the maids' toilet, the general toilet room and a private toilet room communicating with rooms 417 and 418. As was previously remarked, lavatories in the various sleeping rooms on these floors would add greatly to the convenience and comfort of the inmates, and at a cost but slightly greater than that of portable basins and stands. On the other hand, while the original outlay would be more, the increased revenue from rooms provided with running water would soon balance the account, leaving a net income from the investment. A good feature of the plan under consideration is the providing of private toilet rooms in connection with bedrooms. As in hotel buildings, it would be well in Y. M. C. A. buildings to provide a certain percentage of the sleeping rooms with private baths.
It would seem that in large Y. M. C. A. buildings, where several floors are given up to rooms for lodging, that the bed linen, towels and other articles requiring washing would warrant the establishing of a laundry as part of the plumbing or mechanical installation. This would seem the logical thing to do, in view of the fact that the necessary power is available and everything convenient for operating the laundry. A further consideration would be the fact that besides the money saved on the household linen the personal washing of the roomers would help swell the revenue from this branch or department.
In Y. M. C. A. buildings where manual training is to be taught special provision will have to be made in fitting up the shop rooms, the plumbing work required depending a great deal on the extent to which the association wishes to carry on the work of training. If trades are to be taught, and plumbing is to be one of the trades, it would be well to have testing troughs connected with the soil pipe and supplied with running water so that the various apparatus used in plumbing can be tested and tried. Further, it would be well to have outlets to which work of the students could be connected, when finished, so they would see how the work held up under pressure.
In like manner, in the chemical laboratory special provision will have to be made for students of chemistry, running water, waste connections and gas outlets being required at the laboratory tables. Lead lined sinks are sometimes required for this purpose, when acids are to be used that would attack and destroy other materials, and when lead sinks are used, it is better to have the corners burned than soldered, as acids often destroy solder when they do not injure lead. The best thing to to do when trades are to be taught in Y. M. C. A. buildings, is to consult with the instructors who will have charge of the various departments as to their several requirements, and then make provision accordingly. One requirement, however, which may well be borne in mind, is lockers and wash room for the workers. When the students finish work at the lathe, moulding sand, wiping solder, or sheet metal bench, they will want to wash, and change their work clothes for street attire, and this cannot be conveniently done without lockers for their use and lavatories with hot water convenient for the purpose.
A dark room for photographic purposes will be found a desirable feature of a Y. M. C. A. building for amateur work, even though photography is not one of the studies taught in the courses, and the dark room should be fully equipped with sinks supplied with running water.