Aqua Sports & Spa

Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, CA
Construction Cost: $20,000,000
Area / Square Feet: 60,000
Occupancy Date: June 2016

Aqua Sports & Spa represents a modern reinvention of the traditional Japanese bathhouse, providing facilities and programs specifically designed to maintain health and foster community. Bathing holds reverential cultural significance in Japan, and the design intent for this new modern spa was to create a space and water vessel so beautiful and dramatic that the experience of entering it would elicit a similar spiritual response.

Club functions are separated into sports and social spaces. Each space is housed separately in white or gray concrete volumes that vary in scale according to their function. These volumes are carefully articulated with windows scaled to the spaces within. The large pool volume is raised adjacent to an elevated sidewalk. Enormous windows allow both swimmers and passing pedestrians to visually engage each other, blurring the traditional boundary of private and public space.

The lounge is perched on top of the smaller entry volume, oriented to take in views at both ends. The centerpiece is a pavilion of wood slats floating within this transparent volume, reminiscent of Japanese temples but undeniably modern. Designed in a striking minimalist aesthetic, the new building echoes an ancient calmness in opposition to the frenetic context of urban Tokyo.

Judge's Comments

"Quality spaces to exercise, swim and lose oneself from the fast-paced world." — Troy Sherrard

"A simple and restrained site solution, architecturally responsive to surrounding context in scale and materiality. Subtle interplay of interior materials elevates the facility." — Stephen Sefton

"The exterior design is simple and evokes a peacefulness that is associated with a soothing spa. Simplicity is difficult achieve. Mission accomplished." — Kalman Nagy

Aqua Sports & Spa