The Liepaja bath house is part of a longstanding and rich tradition of communal bathing in Europe. Reactivating this bath house as a retreat destination begins with the relationship it has with the surrounding parkland and beach. The building endeavors to be a mediator between the spa experience and surrounding nature.

The reactivation of the facility seeks to align the building with other historical bath houses. The baths of Pompeii remain one of the most iconic examples in the ancient world. As seen in figure C, the bath is nested within an urban block. The collection of rooms and courtyards are formed by the negative space left by the surrounding dwellings.
This way, housing is given prime access to the surrounding city, while access to the spa is to retreat into a hidden world, removed from its surroundings.  We apply this basic relationship of dwelling and bathhouse to arrange the building program. The spa becomes hidden from the world beyond, a place of seclusion and contemplation. Guests to the spa access accommodation and dining facilities off of the main spa floor and are welcomed by private views and access to the forest and beach beyond.

The existing building sets a strong precedent for symmetry on the site. The new addition to the building, though asymmetrical, maintains and reinforces the order set by the existing building through the use of a screened arcade. The arcade lies on a 5×5 grid continuing the order throughout the complex, both hiding or opening views out to the landscape.

Due to the height of sea level and the constraints of the existing building, new spa program takes place on a raised floor level. This prevents the need for significant excavation or for major demolition of the existing building interior. In order to accommodate baths within the existing building it is necessary to remove some non-structural walls. The raised floor within the existing building however, allows for non-destructive mechanical connection beneath to the baths therein.


type of project: competition: public building
competition name: “Renaissance of Retreat – Rebirth of the Bath house”
in collaboration with: Franz Greenwood
location: Liepaja, Latvia
date of completion: may 2014

site exist
main complex to refurbish

location – aerial map of urban situation


roman bath

Bath house of Pompeii circa. 79 CE

int new pool big final2


int spa exist final

Interior of existing refurbished bath house.

main entrance to pool white2

Entrance to new bath house wing.

elev east

east elevation, streetfront

elev south

south elevation


glass cube

New bath house wing. Outdoor pool on the left, indoor pool on the right.


Exterior pool. Looking out onto existing classical building.

UPPER plan

section aa

section aa

elev north

north elevation

section bb

section bb

elev west

west elevation

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