Watch the complete ASCER 2011 video on YouTube


ASCER 1st prize 2011

The program of the proposal is a Thermal Bath Complex in the city of San Sebastian, Spain. The project is located where the urban fabric of San Sebastian finishes and turns into a wild nature. The building is envisioned as two converging 'combs', one towards the sea, the other towards the
mountain, at the foot of Mount Ulía.

The project is conceived from the interior experience and the relation between the body and the surrounding spaces. Water appears as a fundamental material to be celebrated in multiple versions.

The intervention explores the common room between earth and sea, private and public, space and matter.  The different rooms are constantly changing with the tides providing diverse and dynamic experiences for the users.

The naked exterior concrete structure resembles the complex to port architectures, giving it a strong public character. The interiors, however, are covered with soft, neutral ceramic materials for the enjoyment of the body and the senses.

The design attends to the vertical condition of the mountain and the horizontal condition of the sea.

In the urban sphere the built shape creates a square where peacefully gather all the tension and beauty of the specific place.

*The Final Thesis was rated as outstanding an awarded with the ASCER first prize 2011.


Alba Balmaseda


Dr. Jesús María Aparicio GuisadoJesús Aparicio Architectural Office

 University Comittee

Dr. Alberto Campo Baeza
Dr. Jose Ignacio Linazasoro
Dr. José María Lapuerta

Image Credits

Alba Balmaseda

Thanks to

Ariadna Barrio
Susana Barrero
Almudena Basabe
Nano Hernández
David Fernández
Beatriz Jiménez Pazos
Cristina Juárez
Alberto Morell
Fernando Ortiz
Alicia Palacios


Photo by Philip Mak


Born in La Coruña, Spain, in 1985. Graduated as an architect from the Polytechnic University of Madrid in 2010. Granted with the Erasmus program in La Sapienza University of Rome in 2007. Diploma Thesis rated as outstanding and winner of a National Prize in 2011. Secured a Master’s Degree in Advanced Architectural Projects at the Polytechnic University of Madrid in September 2011. 

Combines the practice of architecture with academic research and teaching. Collaborated actively with Irisarri+Piñera Architects, Vivero de Iniciativas Ciudadanas (VIC) and Anupama Kundoo Architects. Developed academic research and teaching at Vastu Shilpa Foundation in Amhedabad, University of Nairobi, Tokyo Wonder Site, University IUAV Venice, KAKD Copenhagen or TU Berlin.

Co-founder of the BarrioBalmaseda studio which ran from 2014 to 2020. Since 2020 she has started a new architectural practice focused on design, teaching and research. Currently Guest Assistant Professor at Stuttgart School of Architecture and Planning and PhD candidate at Roma Tre University Department of Architecture. 


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