Liepāja Thermal Bath

Lead DesignerSteven Christensen
Project LinkView
Prize(s)1st Place in Architecture Categories / Conceptual
Entry Description

The dome plays a key role in countless public bath precedents, including myriad Roman, Ottoman/Turkish, and Renaissance examples. The form's semiological and organizational roles are closely aligned: by reinforcing centrality and singularity, it renders unmistakably explicit the primacy of the circle of space below.

Our proposal seeks to undermine the conventional symbolic performance of the dome by challenging its centripetal tendencies as well as its hierarchical bias. Working with its generative primitive, the sphere, we propose a multiplicity of domes, both upright and inverted, as a rhizomatic formal and organizational embodiment of a contemporary public that is democratic, horizontally empowered, and increasingly networked. Capitalizing 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


SSC_A is an award-winning design and research platform launched by Steven Christensen, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP. Christensen is a registered architect and a member of the design faculty in the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at UCLA where he teaches graduate architecture studios. Prior to joining UCLA in 2012, Christensen taught at the University of Michigan from 2008-2011. He received his Master in Architecture from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University in 2008, and he has been an invited critic at several institutions including Harvard, SCI-Arc, USC, Michigan, and Cambridge.

Prior to establishing his independent practice, Christensen contributed to widely published and exhibited projects for firms including Preston Scott Cohen and CORE. His research and practice are guided by his backgrounds in architecture and psychology, with a current interest in polyvalence, or the potential for design to engage a diverse audience by operating on multiple intellectual and perceptual strata. His work has been published internationally, including recent issues of Azure, FRAME, D+A, Residential Architect, FORM, and a new book on contemporary installation practice worldwide. His work has been selected for inclusion in several exhibitions, most recently in the 2014 and 2015 Emerging Professionals Exhibitions at the national headquarters of the American Institute of Architects in Washington DC, 2014 and 2015 exhibitions at the A+D Architecture and Design Museum, and as a Special Exhibit in the 2015 LA Art Show.