Rebirth of the Bathhouse Competition, Spring 2014

This work was completed with Lucy Siyao Liu
 
Inside its richly furnished halls, visitors had the chance to experience immersion in warm seawater, and healing mud baths. Visitors were offered a range of recreational therapies like hydrotherapy, Roman and Irish saunas, and latter mud, carbonic acid, and sulfur baths. After WWII the swimming facility functioned as a resort and sanatorium, attracting health and rest seekers from Latvia and abroad. In 1978 an underground lake 1300 meters beneath the swimming facility was discovered, containing high-quality minerals. The valuable spring remains active, and a recent water quality check proves that the water is in excellent condition and usable for therapeutic purposes. However, in 1993 soon after Latvia regained its independence the sanatorium was shut down and has remained closed since, nevertheless due to rapid economic growth in the region, there are hopes that this iconic building can be restored and once again used as the Bath House.

Inhabiting the Horizon:
 
The proposal reimagines the bathhouse as a new active center of the seaside park. The extension sensitively rests behind the historic structure, but is physically and visually engaged with the park. The cafe to the South acts a new threshold; open to the public it invites visitors into the bathhouse to experience the newfound courtyards created by the 20-room hotel, restaurant, and main pool. All new program is encased under one roof which is anchored by the central pool. This is the impetus of the movement of water throughout the entire bathhouse. The existing north and south wings have been transformed to accommodate new treatment spaces, and the central dome now protects a central, intimate, cooling pool. 
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