Liepaja Thermal Bath
In January 2017, the design for Liepja Thermal Bath and Hotel was announced as the winner in the first annual AAP American Architecture Prize which recognises the most outstanding architecture worldwide.
Proposed for Liepja, Latvia, and designed by Steven Christensen Architecture of California, the inspiration arose from a keen interest in the formal associations of dome design in architectural history, and more precisely, its role within the typology of the public bath.
The architect highlights the dome as being ‘an important organisational and representational device’ throughout the history of the public bath. Originating in the technologically innovative Roman bathing structures, and progressing through the dim and atmospheric medieval Ottoman examples, the dome became a ubiquitous feature of the Renaissance and Baroque movements.
The design seeks to undermine the conventional symbolic performance of the hemisphere by challenging its centripetal tendencies as well as its hierarchical bias.
The architects proposed a multiplicity of domes, both upright and inverted, as a rhizomatic formal and organisational embodiment of a contemporary public that is democratic, horizontally empowered, and increasingly networked.
The AAP American Architecture Prize honours exceptional designs in 41 categories across three disciplines: architectural design, interior design, and landscape architecture. The firm’s design for Liepja Thermal Bath won a Silver Award for Recreational Architecture.
The design for Liepja Thermal Bath has also won a Gold Award at the IDA International Design Awards, an AZ Award and a People’s Choice Award from Azure Magazine, a Citation Award from the American Institute of Architects, and an American Architecture Award from the Chicago Athenaeum and the European Centre for Architecture, Art, Design and Urban Studies.
Content and images courtesy of Steven Christensen Architecture.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
We review a book aiming to unpick the complexities of building physics.
An introduction to the categories, procedures and types of listed buildings.
This Australian robotics firm have developed a bricklaying machine capable of building a house in 3 days.
20bn devices will be online by 2020, generating huge volumes of information. Is society making the most of this rich data?
Built over a period of 632 years, Cologne Cathedral is considered one of the world's finest examples of Gothic architecture.
UandI adds £1.5bn to development pipeline.
Here are 5 things leaders can do to create a truly circular economy.
Find out about the different types of delays on construction projects.
Researchers at Wien university have developed new system to create an inflatable concrete structure.
Take a look at this newly-opened tower in Chicago with a remarkable 20:1 height-to-base ratio.
The principles, practice and formwork of one of the most important components of modern architecture.