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Competition: Blue clay spa, Latvia

An international competition has been launched for a guesthouse and spa offering blue-clay treatments in rural western Latvia (Deadline: 25 January)

Open to everyone, the contest, for developer SRED Global, seeks ‘eco-friendly and cost-effective’ proposals for a singe-storey guesthouse and spa in the Baltic state’s Kurzeme region.

The project aims to promote environmentally aware ‘eco-tourism’ in the country which is recognised as being one of the most green in the world.



Blue clay contest site

According to the brief: ‘The Blue Clay Country Spa architecture competition, in partnership with SRED Global real estate developers, is tasking participants with presenting designs for a countryside guest house that would specialise in providing health treatments using this unique and naturally occurring organic product.

‘The winning designs will be considered for construction, and should focus on eco-friendly and cost-effective building techniques that will set a positive example of green building practice, and further popularise ecotourism in Latvia.’

With around 54 per cent of its land covered in forest, Latvia is home to a diverse eco system, which includes rare black storks, otters, beaver, lynx, and wolves; as well as large numbers of deer, wild boar, elk and red fox. Protected wildlife zones account for approximately a fifth of the country.

Blue clay contains trace amounts of iron, calcium, magnesium, silver, nitrogen, zinc, manganese and copper, and has been used for healing and beauty treatments for centuries. The naturally occurring material is claimed to reduce stress, improve metabolism, increase blood circulation and combat pathogens.

Blue Clay is naturally abundant in Latvia’s Kurzeme region where the winning scheme may be constructed. The remote contest site is surrounded by forest and overlooks a lake.



Blue Clay Spa contest site

Proposals for the guesthouse should include two bedrooms and a living room, kitchen, bathroom and toilet. The spa building must meanwhile feature at least two therapy rooms alongside a sauna, hot tub and dining area.

Designs should also include staff accommodation and storage areas as well as an optional farm, fruit garden and children’s playground. No underground construction is allowed.

The winning team is set to be announced 8 March and will receive a USD $11,000 top prize. There will also be a second prize of $6,000, third prize of $2,000, a student prize and green prize worth $500 each, and six honourable mentions.

All prize-winning and commended designs will be considered for construction by SRED Global, which is planning to start building the project in 2017-2018.

How to apply


The registration deadline is 11.59am local time on 25 January and submissions must be completed by 11.59am local time on 15 February.

Contact details

Bee Breeders
Room D, 17/F
Billion Plaza 2
10 Cheung Yue Street
Lai Chi Kok
Hong Kong


Visit the competition website for more information

Uppgrenna Nature House case study: Q&A with Fredrik Olson

The founder of Tailor Made Architects discusses lessons learned designing a 520m² rural house and spa in Sweden

Tailor Made Architects

Tailor Made Architects

Fredrik Olson

How did your Uppgrenna Nature House project create a high-quality rural dwelling and spa centre?

I had a client with a really clear vision about her future house as a sustainable meeting place. This vision fitted perfectly into our concept of the ‘Nature House’ – a concept which we developed gradually parallel to this project.

Which architectural, material and other methods did you harness?

We base almost all our projects out of the ‘Nature House’ concept – a building with a well-insulated core-building, a greenhouse (only heated by the sun) and the waste-water recycling system (plant beds in the greenhouse) which purifies the waste of the building and turns it into fruits and vegetables.



Uppgrenna Nature House by Tailor Made Architects

The Uppgrenna Naturehouse is a no exception. This sustainable concept in combination with the marvellous setting and a strong ambition to create a very clear, recognisable shape of the building, inspired by the traditional Swedish barn, drew a lot of attention. People got curious. Which is, of course, very important for a house with this function – a multi-purpose house for conferences, café, therapy-treatments, events…

What advice do you have on designing a guest house and spa for a green site in Latvia?

Go all in for a super sustainable solution. This has the possibility to give the visitors a luxurious spa experience with a good conscience. Why not have a greenhouse? An environment enjoyed by tomatoes is also an environment enjoyed by people.



Uppgrenna Nature House by Tailor Made Architects



Uppgrenna Nature House by Tailor Made Architects