California-based Steven Christensen Architecture has won the first annual AAP American Architecture Prize in Recreational Architecture category for its design for Liepāja thermal bath and hotel.
According to the design team, the concept originates from a keen interest in the formal associations of the dome throughout architectural history, and more precisely, its role within the typology of the public bath.
“The dome has been an important organisational and representational device throughout the history of the public bath, playing a central role in the most technologically innovative Roman bathing structures, through the myriad dim and atmospheric medieval Ottoman examples, and continuing on into countless Renaissance and Baroque precedents. The dome’s semiological and organisational roles in these structures are closely aligned: by reinforcing centrality and singularity, the form renders unmistakably explicit the primacy of the circle of space directly below,” the design team explained in the press release.
Capitalising on the seemingly serendipitous intersection of these friendly spherical forms, as well as the unique spaces between them within the poché, the project uses its sociopolitical conceptual foundation in service of an unorthodox spatial experience that is both spirited and atmospheric.
Photo credit: Steven Christensen Architecture