basalt architects nestles 'guðlaug baths' into a rocky breakwater barrier in iceland

Feb 10, 2021

‘at high tide, the design allows users to experience the explosive power of the ocean under their feet,’ notes basalt architects. ‘at low tide the beach stretches out and little lukewarm pools from the overflow, form around rocks on the beach, perpetuating the original architectural concept. no two visits are the same, as the seasons, tides, light and weather change the experience every time.’

two rocks from the barrier were placed in the pools: one naturally shaped as a chaise longue, and another with a recessed light to spotlight the ‘waterfall’. the entire structure is made of marine grade concrete, as it needs to withstand the intense force of the ocean. ‘the challenging construction site called for precast concrete elements to limit time and ensure quality,’ explains the reykjavík-based studio. ‘the timber formwork finish is a reference to the old fishing boats that once were an essential part of the town’s rich seafaring history.’

image by basalt architects

guðlaug plan: context

guðlaug plan: beach level

guðlaug plan: lower pool

guðlaug plan: main pool

guðlaug plan: viewing deck

project info:

name: guðlaug baths

architect: basalt architects

location: akranes, iceland

area: 100 m2

program: bathing facilities

client: akranes municipality, guðlaug gunnlaugsdóttir and jón gunnlaugsson memorial foundation

team: guðjón kjartansson, hrólfur karl cela, jón guðmundsson, sigríður sigþórsdóttir