Southwark Public Baths, Architecture Foundation London, Swimming Building, Image
London Festival of Architecture Project – design by EXYZT & Sara Muzio
7 Jul 2008
Southwark Public Baths
The Architecture Foundation presents the Southwark Public Baths as part of London Festival of Architecture 2008
Design: EXYZT & Sara Muzio
Southwark Public Baths
An exciting temporary lido, created by acclaimed French architecture collective EXYZT and filmmaker Sara Muzio will appear on Union Street, London SE1 this summer. Following in the tradition of Roman baths and Turkish hammams, which provided a setting for social gathering, ritual cleansing and uninhibited political discussions, the Southwark Public Baths will host a variety of activities in an unusual, architecturally innovative environment.
Within a futuristic low-tech complex, visitors of all ages can enjoy the refreshing spray of the water deck, or sweat it out in a mobile sauna brought from Latvia by K@2 United Artists; there will be a paddling pool for children; beach huts doubling as changing rooms and living pods for staff; a sun deck; and a bar operated by east London restaurant Bistrotheque. A colourful mobile garden will be created on-site in collaboration with Bankside Open Spaces Trust, which will be distributed throughout the neighbourhood at the end of the Festival.
Curated by the Architecture Foundation, the Baths will provide bathing and breathing space for the general public, residents of Southwark and visitors to London Festival of Architecture (LFA2008) alike. It is an expression of EXYZT’s strategy of urban renewal, based on the idea that the emergence of a community of users taking active part in creating and inhabiting their urban environment is key to generating a vibrant city. This project explores the potential of using a site in transition, generously lent by AZ Urban Studio, to create a vibrant node of community and cultural engagement during it’s transformation from empty lot to new residential and office buildings. The run-up to the installation will see the organisers forming links with the local community and specific groups, and provide those networks with a new place to hold events and share their work.
The Baths sit within LFA2008’s Southwark & South Bank Hub curated by The Architecture Foundation, which occupies a dynamic part of London that has moved away from its traditional label as ‘the other side’ of the Thames. It is now among the edgiest of London’s major cultural quarters, with key venues like Tate Modern sitting alongside urban redevelopments including ‘The Shard’ (Renzo Piano’s new office tower) and the transformed Thameslink rail services around London Bridge. Lively activities across the Hub will build on the area’s history, reveal a hinterland of hidden territories and offer new visions for lifestyles relevant to the contemporary city.
During the LFA2008 Southwark & South Bank Hub focus week, 9 – 13 July will host:
Lunchtime Picnics: Take a proper lunch break: bring your lunch to the pool side, have a quick dip, sunbathe and socialise
After School Club: Activities for children of any age
An After Work Drink: Come and relax after a hard day’s work: sweat out tensions, have a drink and enjoy informal presentations by artists, musicians, architects, and many others
Film Club: Evenings are for film screenings in the open air, pool-side cinema
Construction and activities at this temporary settlement start on 20 June, with a programme of public events from 9 to 13 July.
London Festival of Architecture 2008 – Southwark & South Bank hub
The Architecture Foundation
The Architecture Foundation promotes and encourages the best in contemporary architecture and brings it to a wide public. It runs a rich programme comprising exhibitions, talks, events, design initiatives and competitions, research, policy work and films. Established in 1991 as Britain’s first independent architecture centre, The Architecture Foundation actively bridges the gap between decision-makers, design professionals and the public.
EXYZT is a non-profit association that acts as a platform for multidisciplinary creation. It was created in 2003 on the initiative of five architects, whose first self-built and self-documented project, Le Rab, was realised on an abandoned plot of land in the Parc de la Villette in Paris. EXYZT shakes up the idea of architecture as an independent field. Through experimental projects EXYZT combines a diverse range of skills as means of expression, including architecture, film, graphic design and botany. EXYZT invite audiences to reconsider the role, function and identity of the areas occupied during projects within a well-defined time-frame. The collective conceive and organise each project as a playground where cultural behaviours and shared stories relate, mix and mingle.
EXYZT’s past projects include: LabiChampi, a Mushroof construction and festival in Karosta, Latvia; Metavilla, converting the French Pavilion into an inhabited villa at the 10th International Architecture Biennale, Venice, Italy; S.E.T., an inhabited launch-pad for the Agbar Tower in Barcelona, Spain; and EKTOP #1, an urban satellite in the garden of les Halles as part of the Nuit Blanches 2005, Paris, France
London Festival of Architecture
London Festival of Architecture 2008 will be one of the world’s major†celebrations of architecture and the built environment.† London’s landscape will be transformed during the spectacular month-long†festival, which will include hundreds of events on the theme of FRESH! Organised in association with Design for London, events including exhibitions, architect-designed pavilions, talks, walks and film screenings will take place at national cultural institutions like the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum, high profile outdoor public spaces and places of architectural interest across the capital. In association with the British Council, LFA2008 will also include an international Embassies Project to link this celebration of London’s architectural activity with that from over twenty countries around the world, and a National Architecture Student Festival where temporary structures will spring up across the city, offering shelter and demonstrating how unused spaces can be transformed.
London Festival of Architecture Hubs
Five Festival Hubs across the capital will be defined areas of concentrated activity where events will take place, where people will congregate and where the buzz of major events will be evident. They are:
Kensington, Chelsea & Knightsbridge Hub – focusing on museums and galleries in South Kensington, and on the proposed ‘shared space’ public realm scheme in Exhibition Road by Dixon Jones.
Canary Wharf, Stratford & Greenwich Peninsula Hub – debates on the future of East London in light of planned major development, a major lecture by Canary Wharf architect Cesar Pelli, and open air events exploring the area’s docklands and rivers.
King’s Cross, Bloomsbury & Covent Garden Hub – exploring the new masterplan for Bloomsbury, a network of public spaces between the British Museum and the new St Pancras International terminal and talks at New London Architecture.
South Bank & Southwark Hub – including evening events on the Riverside Walk and exhibitions and talks in cultural venues including the Design Museum, and a new public space from Witherford Watson Mann’s Bankside Urban Forest strategy.
Clerkenwell & City of London Hub – including events exploring high-tech sustainable architecture and the future of work places, installations in Paternoster Square, Smithfield Market, Clerkenwell Green, and a ‘medieval market’ on Cheapside, London’s first high street.
LFA2008 information centre and headquarters is at NLA at the Building Centre, 26 Store Street, London WC1E 7BT.
Location:Southwark Lido, London, UK