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Basalt Architects' Guðlaug Baths inspired by little sea pools nestled in rocky barrier in Iceland

Iceland Architecture News - Mar 11, 2021 - 14:18   5430 views

Basalt Architects' Guðlaug Baths inspired by little sea pools nestled in rocky barrier in Iceland

Icelandic architecture studio Basalt Architects has built geothermal baths nestled into a rocky barrier of Langisandur Beach in Iceland, the beach faces the vast North Atlantic Ocean. 

Named Guðlaug Baths, the 100-square-metre project is comprised of a three-tier structure, in which each tier revolves around a single rock. 

A viewing deck is placed on the top of the structure which is inspired by the bow of a boat, while the middle part comprises the main pool, sheltered from prevailing weather by the viewing deck and surrounding wall geometry.

Basalt Architects' Guðlaug Baths inspired by little sea pools nestled in rocky barrier in Iceland

Image © Ragnar Th Sigurðsson/Arctic Images

The lower part, fed by the cascading overflow of the main pool, has been designed as a cooler pool to allow sea swimmers to adjust between going in the frigid ocean and the hot pool.

For the concept, the architects are inspired by little sea pools that they form in naturally occurring depressions around rocks on the beach as the tide flows in and out. 

Basalt Architects' Guðlaug Baths inspired by little sea pools nestled in rocky barrier in Iceland

Image © Ragnar Th Sigurðsson/Arctic Images

The architects designed the project to promote public health by bolstering the area‘s potential for outdoor recreation and to meet the needs of current- and future users. 

Basalt Architects' Guðlaug Baths inspired by little sea pools nestled in rocky barrier in Iceland

Image © Ragnar Th Sigurðsson/Arctic Images

"Langisandur is Iceland’s only natural bathing beach in an urban setting and the only beach with a Blue Flag certification," said Basalt Architects. 

"Langisandur Beach is a popular outdoor recreation area for locals and a somewhat hidden gem to visitors. The spectacular view from the pool includes the Faxaflói bay and Reykjavík city skyline across the ocean."

Basalt Architects' Guðlaug Baths inspired by little sea pools nestled in rocky barrier in Iceland

Image © Ragnar Th Sigurðsson/Arctic Images

As the team emphasizes, the project was funded by the Jón Gunnlaugsson and Guðlaug Gunnlaugsdóttir memorial fund who’s role was to enrich community life in Akranes. "Further funds came from the township and government grants," the studio added. 

"The architecture brief was simple; a hot pool placed anywhere by the beach," they continued.

Basalt Architects' Guðlaug Baths inspired by little sea pools nestled in rocky barrier in Iceland

Image © Jón Sævar Hallvarðsson

The project is built upon Iceland‘s ancient geothermal bathing tradition, the structure "pays homage to the circular shape of historic predecessors but its form is integrated into the unique site conditions," as the studio explained.

On the top level of the structure, the design allows users to experience the explosive power of the ocean under their feet. "At lower tide, the beach stretches out and little lukewarm pools from the overflow, form around rocks on the beach, perpetuating the original architectural concept." 

Basalt Architects' Guðlaug Baths inspired by little sea pools nestled in rocky barrier in Iceland

Image courtesy of Basalt Architects 

"No two visits are the same, as the seasons, tides, light, and weather change the experience every time," as the studio detailed. 

The architects continued that "the untreated geothermal water is channeled from Deildartunguhver, the most voluminous hot spring in Europe." 

"Rocks from the barrier were placed in the pools, one naturally shaped like a chaise longue and the other has a recessed light to spotlight the “waterfall”." 

Basalt Architects' Guðlaug Baths inspired by little sea pools nestled in rocky barrier in Iceland

Image © Jónas Ottósson

For the material choice of the structure, the architects choice a marine-grade concrete, as this materials needed to resists against the awesome force of the ocean.

To speed up the construction process by maintaining the quality in a restricted time limit, the concrete pieces had to be precast and built on the site.

Basalt Architects' Guðlaug Baths inspired by little sea pools nestled in rocky barrier in Iceland

Image © Jónas Ottósson

In finishes, the studio used timber formwork which is a reference to the old fishing boats that once were an essential part of the town’s rich seafaring history.

Basalt Architects' Guðlaug Baths inspired by little sea pools nestled in rocky barrier in Iceland

Image © Jónas Ottósson

Basalt Architects' Guðlaug Baths inspired by little sea pools nestled in rocky barrier in Iceland

Image © Jónas Ottósson

Basalt Architects' Guðlaug Baths inspired by little sea pools nestled in rocky barrier in Iceland

Image courtesy of Basalt Architects

Basalt Architects' Guðlaug Baths inspired by little sea pools nestled in rocky barrier in Iceland

Image © Michal Mogila 

Basalt Architects' Guðlaug Baths inspired by little sea pools nestled in rocky barrier in Iceland

Site plan

Basalt Architects' Guðlaug Baths inspired by little sea pools nestled in rocky barrier in Iceland

Beach level plan

Basalt Architects' Guðlaug Baths inspired by little sea pools nestled in rocky barrier in Iceland

Lower level plan

Basalt Architects' Guðlaug Baths inspired by little sea pools nestled in rocky barrier in Iceland

Upper pool level plan

Basalt Architects' Guðlaug Baths inspired by little sea pools nestled in rocky barrier in Iceland

Viewing deck level plan

Basalt Architects' Guðlaug Baths inspired by little sea pools nestled in rocky barrier in Iceland

Sections and elevations

Basalt Architects' Guðlaug Baths inspired by little sea pools nestled in rocky barrier in Iceland

Elevations

Basalt Architects previously completed the Blue Lagoon Hotel among natural rock formations in Iceland. 

Basalt Architects was established in 2009 in Reykjavik, Iceland. Led by partners Sigríður Sigþórsdóttir (founder), Hrólfur Karl Cela and Marcos Zotes, Basalt’s dynamic team of architects and designers bring together a rich and extensive architectural design and construction experience in Iceland and abroad.

Project facts

Project name: Guðlaug Baths

Architects: Basalt Architects 

Location: Akranes, Iceland

Size: 100m2 

Date: 2018

Project team: Hrólfur Karl Cela, Sigríður Sigþórsdóttir, Marcos Zotes, Guðjón Kjartansson, Jón Guðmundsson

Structure: Mannvit Engineers

Lighting design: Liska

Contractor: Ístak

Top image © Ragnar Th Sigurðsson/Arctic Images

All drawings © Basalt Architects 

> via Basalt Architects