Lakefront urban spa kiosks with Roman roots designed for Chicago architectural competition

by Jane Kitchen | 21 Sep 2015

One of the entries for the Chicago Architecture Biennial Lakefront Kiosk Competition featured an idea for a 2,000sq ft (186sq m) urban Urban Therme spa created by designers Kyle Bigart, Andrew Sommerville and Alex Paulette.

The Chicago Architecture Biennial is a new event that the City of Chicago is putting on this year to open up a dialogue with the public about architecture and design.

Hosted by the Biennial, the Lakefront Kiosk Competition asked for proposals of a retail kiosk to be built along the city’s lakeshore, with certain limitations including size, budget and mobility.

“Living in Chicago, we know that the lakefront is heavily congested during the summer, but during the cold winter months, the lakefront quickly becomes desolate,” said Bigart.

The team looked at winter activities like ice fishing or a warming hut for die-hard runners, but ultimately ditched those ideas, as they wouldn’t have wide-scale appeal.

“A spa, which is both public and private at the same time, eventually emerged as the clear and best way to solve all these issues,” said Bigart. “Although it clearly wasn’t what the prompt or competition was exactly looking for, we knew it was an idea people needed to hear. We wanted people to start thinking of the lakeshore as what it can become rather than what it currently is.”

The Urban Therme spas are designed in mobile kiosks and made to serve multiple spa experiences, including hot and cold baths and dry saunas. The plan calls for a “herd of spas” to move along the lakeshore.

The team researched ancient Roman spas for inspiration.

“The logic is beautifully simple – spas have existed for thousands of years, and this way we didn’t need to invent any new technology, but learned to adapt Roman technology for our modern-day kiosk,” said Bigart. “This design process followed through to every aspect of the kiosk, like lifting the roof for sky views, which then also doubles as a rain catchment system.”

The team has designed the spa kiosks to include a roof cavity that acts as a rainwater catchment, which is stored in a series of reservoir tanks embedded in the back wall. A solar water heater maintains consistent temperatures where needed, and water is cleaned through an electro-magnetic filtration system powered by 24v batteries kept charged by photovoltaic paneling.

During the summer months, the kiosks become a shady respite for beachgoers, as the units point east, utilising the cool lake breeze from its large covered patio. During winter, the kiosks face the opposite way, shielding from the wind and looking towards Chicago’s skyline.

While Urban Therme was ultimately not the winner of the competition, Bigart said the reception from the public and the spa community has been so positive that it’s made the team think more about the project’s future.

He said while the project was contextually designed for Chicago, it could work in other cities – particularly those with the same cold weather lakefront issues.

“If there is continued interest at this level, I think we will start to look into refining the idea more and turning the conceptual idea into a more realistic project, and hopefully someday in the future realise the Urban Therme idea,” he said.

One of the entries for the Chicago Architecture Biennial Lakefront Kiosk Competition featured an idea for a 2,000sq ft (186sq m) urban Urban Therme spa created by designers Kyle Bigart, Andrew Sommerville and Alex Paulette. The Chicago Architecture Biennial is a new event that the City of Chicago is putting on this year to open up a dialogue with the public about architecture and design. Hosted by the Biennial, the
CLD,SAB,CPW,ARC,DES,SWC
The spa kiosks were the team's idea to bring people to the lakefront during the cold winter months / Urban Therme
More news
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7381     
 
 
 
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7381     
 
 
 
latest jobs
Circa £40,000 per annum
Job location: Manchester, UK
company profile
Company profile: GOCO Hospitality
The specialists in designing, developing and operating spa and wellness spaces.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
features
Profile: Daan Roosegaarde
"I want to demonstrate that creativity is our true capital as humans "

Rather than feeling fearful and helpless about the future, we must design a way out of the environmental problems we have created, argues the innovative Dutch designer, artist and inventor Daan Roosegaarde

Health & Fitness: Working it
"We’ve designed the space so that the atmosphere is intimate"

Les Mills’ new studio spaces at its iconic Auckland City Gym showcase a trend away from masculine ‘grunty’ gyms to something altogether different

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
The Mr Fisher restaurant is one floor below the water level and serves seafood
Martin Jochman founded JADE+QA in 2013. He formerly worked for Atkins
"We didn’t want to put in any gimmicks. We wanted to create a building that’s inherently sustainable through passive sustainability"

When Martin Jochman set out to transform an old quarry into a luxury hotel, he faced some serious challenges

CopenHill is part of an extensive regeneration of the former industrial dockland area of Amager
"It was born from the sheer anxiety of having to submit something brilliant in a very short timescale"

How a moment of desperation led to BIG’s CopenHill, the clean power plant that’s doubling as a skiing and leisure destination. Magali Robathan speaks to the architects that made it happen

Interview: Elizabeth de Portzamparc
Elizabeth de Portzamparc
"We need to stop the destruction of our world through predatory practices. We need to think of the future"

The architect behind Nimes’ Musée de la Romanité on designing to counter loneliness and the need for more cultural buildings

features
Alan Metcalfe
"When people are a bit scared, they gather together"

Featuring a vibrating glass platform and one of the US’s longest tree canopy walks, Whiting Forest has been designed to bring visitors closer to nature and to one another

Last word: Tina Norden
Tina Norden
"We have created an approach which is playful, provocative but also functional"

Conran and Partners’ Tina Norden on playing with colour at Prague’s newly redesigned Hotel Maximilian

Houston’s Memorial Park is being restored following hurricane damage
Thomas Woltz
"I am very proud of stewarding the largest public space to be built in Manhattan in a century"

The Wall Street Journal’s Design Innovator of the Year on designing the gardens at Hudson Yards and looking to the Native Americans for ideas on how to create a resilient future

cladkit product news
BIG partners with Louis Poulsen for new lighting collection
The Keglen collection is made up of four different pendants
Lauren Heath-Jones
BIG Ideas, the technology arm of renowned architecture firm Bjarke Ingles Group (BIG), has partnered with Danish lighting manufacturer Louis ...
Naval architect launches solar-powered floating pods
The Anthénea pod is a luxury floating suite that could be used as a spa or treatment suite
Lauren Heath-Jones
Naval architect Jean-Michel Ducancelle has designed a solar-powered floating hotel suite aimed at offering an eco-friendly and nomadic place for ...
Pelle DVN Table inspired by traditional Japanese carpentry
The DVN Table was created using Japanese joinery techniques
Lauren Heath-Jones
Jean and Oliver Pelle, the husband and wife team behind New York-based design studio Pelle, have created the DVN Table, ...
cladkit product news
Canteen collection combines nostalgia with modern aesthetics
The Canteen collection was inspired by post-war British design techniques
Lauren Heath-Jones
Very Good & Proper (VG&P), a British furniture brand, has curated a new dining collection that combines traditional woodworking techniques ...
Space Popular creates video installation for the Gwangmyeongmun Gate in South Korea
Gate of Bright Lights was designed to show visitors how screens and digital interfaces have replaced physical objects the gateway between us and the rest of the world.
Lauren Heath-Jones
Multidisciplinary design firm Space Popular has created a video installation for the Gwangmyeongmun Gate at the Deoksugung Palace in Seoul, ...
XTU concept imagines life in the clouds
XTU's X Cloud concept is part of the Future and the Arts: AI, Robotic, Cities, Life - How Humanity Will Live Tomorrow exhibition at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo
Lauren Heath-Jones
XTU Architects, a Paris-based architecture firm, has released images and renderings of X Cloud, a new concept that showcase a ...
cladkit product news
Tino Seubert x Theodora Alfredsdottir lighting collection inspired by mid-century furniture making traditions
The Corrugation Lights were inspired by midcentury and post-war furniture making techniques
London-based designers Tino Seubert and Theodora Alfredsdottir have teamed up to create Corrugation Lights, a lighting collection inspired by midcentury ...
John Pomp Studios expands Tidal collection
The Eclipse Pendant light was inspired by the lunar eclipse
Lauren Heath-Jones
John Pomp Studios, a design practice based in Philadelphia in the US, has expanded its Tidal collection to include five ...
Daniel Svahn creates furniture collection using repurposed table tops
The Goodies But Oldies collection features three pieces made from repurposed MDF table tops
Lauren Heath-Jones
Daniel Svahn, a Stockholm-based furniture designer, has created a new range of sustainable furnishings, made from recycled MDF tabletops. Svahn, ...
x
Sign up with CLAD for regular news updates