Bath House of Liepaja
- by Javier Mosquera González
Transforming the Bath House into a new reference in the City of Liepaja is one of the main actions to do in order to create a new resort city. Its proximity to the beach makes the Bath House a landmark in the coast. According to this idea, the aim of the project is becoming a new iconic place, easily recognizable, by its relation between the surroundings and its shape and volume.
The design of the existent building needs to be changed to accommodate all the facilities required in a XXI century building. Apart from the Bath House, activities such as restaurants and shops, a small boutique hotel and exhibition spaces, will give the new Bath House several opportunities to attract people and become a reference point in the Liepaja coast.
The first action proposed, is to remove the actual roof of the building, including its dome. Even it seems to be a radical decision, it is needed, in order to give to the new building a unitary image. The way it will be covered is the key point of the project, as it will provide light to the interior spaces and it will also be the new shape surrounded by the trees in the plot. The geometry of the new building includes the T-form of the Bath House, and it becomes and orthogonal grid, with several yards in it, where all the uses are mixed together in a single unit.
After this, the second step is define a new interior layout of this unit. By creating single cellular spaces, all of them with its own skylight to get the light into them, the proposal creates a net of spaces linked together. Nevertheless, every different activity of the building could be easily accessed once the visitor is in the new Bath House.
The building could be opened at different hours, and by areas. This means that the main access to the public baths could be closed but at the same, the boutique hotel and its private baths could be opened. Shops and restaurants also have their own direct access from the street. Different accesses to different activities at different hours. This is another key point to transform the actual Bath House into a multipurpose center where people can go whenever they want to.
The new Bath House will be built with concrete structural walls cladded with ceramic tiles, inside and outside the building. As the old bath rooms were all covered with tiles, to rebirth the Bath House, the use of ceramic tiles made by local craftsmen, will be the new image shown to the visitors. Innovation and tradition together under the same light in the new Bath House of Liepaja.