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The Salt House in Latvia: an example that integrates the New European Bauhaus’ values

The Salt House in Latvia: an example that integrates the New European Bauhaus’ values

This showcases architecture that harmonizes with nature

Last week, the New European Bauhaus Friendship Group shared an example of an architectural space that can be considered to integrate all three values that are pillars of the new movement - beauty, sustainability and inclusivity. The name of the building is The Salt House, and it is located on the edge of the Pāvilosta historical centre, a small seaside fishermen’s town in Latvia.

It was designed by Brigita Bula architectural studio, also from the same Baltic country.

The NEB Friendship Group is composed of European Parliament MPs from different political groups

The house in question showcases how innovative architecture can be easily applied to rural areas. It underscores simplicity and minimalism, qualities that are highly valued in Northern European architecture.

Here is how the Salt House meets each of the NEB’s requirements in its own way.

What makes it special aesthetically is that the architect has considered tradition, climate, landscape, ecology of materials & processes, abilities of local craftsmen and builders, new technological requirements, and client needs to deliver a visually appealing, internationally renowned result.

Most would wonder why it is called The Salt House. That is because it reminisces a sand dune that catches all the salt carried by the sea breeze. It will retain its beauty as it ages – cracks or rusty spots will fit its image because this is simply the natural order of things.

The 240 m2, one-storey building is set in a seaside meadow, and it draws a thin sea-wave-like line in the surrounding undulating landscape, leaving as small an imprint in the existing biotope as possible.

Pāvilosta has a temperate climate & strong wind, so the building was sustainably constructed with thick, monolithic, lime-plastered blocks - a material that is sourced locally. The cross-section of the one-story structure was inspired by traditional fishermen's houses prevalent in the area. The heating system uses only local renewable sources - a combination of a heat pump and a wood heating system.

Extensive planning efforts were made to also have a positive social impact. Ensuring that local workers could be involved in the construction to support the local community & provide economic opportunities in a remote area with low average incomes was a priority for the project.

The Salt House has received the Latvian Architecture Annual Award. The jury emphasized the simplicity of the building, the successful use of materials & the harmony with the landscape. It is also nominated for the EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture - Mies van der Rohe.

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