The Roca Gallery commissions Wonderwater’s Jane Withers to challenge our views on public swimming with a selection of schemes that use a city’s natural resources
In the Swimmer, Frank Perry’s oblique satire on the emptiness of upper class suburban life in Los Angeles, Burt Lancaster’s Neddy character attempts to swim home via the city’s ubiquitous backyard swimming pools. The plot device was unquestionably peculiar, though not implausible given that swimming is hardwired into southern California’s DNA. Most pattern book housing tracts will include a residents’ pool hidden somewhere within its contrived streets.
The same cannot be said of London or New York where a swimming pool is possible only for the most affluent. Seeking ways to readdress this imbalance is Urban Plunge, an exhibition commissioned by the Roca Gallery that examines the idea of public swimming using a city’s natural resources. Curator Jane Withers co-founder of Wonderwater – an initiative to raise awareness of global water issues and the role design can play in shaping a sustainable future – has selected various schemes in Copenhagen, London and New York that will ‘challenge our attitude to the urban water environment’.
+ Pool in New York by Family and Playlab
Funded to the tune of $273,114 via Kickstarter, the cross-shaped +Pool will float in New York’s rivers and act, in the words of the designers, “like a giant Brita filter”, cleaning an estimated 2 million gallons of water a day. Open to everyone, +Pool is scheduled for completion in 2016.
House of Water by Tredje Natur
Falling under the wider umbrella of the ongoing Copenhagen Harbour Baths project is the theatrical House of Water by Tredje Natur – a new island for the harbour commissioned by State of Green, Denmark’s sustainability initiative. The project will be a series of manmade islands aimed at transforming the harbour into a recreational area featuring Kroyers Puddle, a bath with heated inlet pools and sauna caves. King’s Cross Pond Club in London by Ooze (Eva Pfannes and Sylvain Hartenberg) and Marjetica Potrc
King’s Croiss Pond Club in London by Ooze (Eva Pfannes and Sylvain Hartenberg) and Marjetica Potrc
A temporary project set to last 18 months on a brownfield site in the King’s Cross Central development; the Pond Club is designed to create an enclave for public use in the middle of private land that is under construction. The water for the pool will be pumped from nearby Regents Canal and purified through a natural process using wetlands plants. The Pond Club will open from early 2015 and, after closing in 2016, its water will be used to irrigate a forthcoming park.
Thames Baths in London by Studio Octopi
The Thames Baths project evolved out of a proposal for the “London As It Could be Now” programme developed by the Royal Academy of Arts, the Architecture Foundation and RSH+P. The plan involves constructing three separate pools contained in a pontoon using either freshwater or recycled rainwater near Temple underground station.