A few nice swimming pool design images I found:
Image by Glasgowfoodie
Statement of Significance
Via the Historic Scotland website
Govanhill Baths, Calder Street, Glasgow
Statement of Significance
Social and historic interest of public pools, baths and washhouses in Glasgow
1. Glasgow Corporation provided a comprehensive array of service for its citizens, from dance halls to hydraulic power on tap to health centres. By building a huge number of public baths, pools and washhouses the Corporation promoted health and hygiene. For many people without hot running water, bath tubs in individual cubicles for personal washing were much needed. Baths and washhouses were often an adjunct to a public library or hall, at Parkhead for instance, providing a clear example of the City’s paternalistic sense of social responsibility. The bath houses often, though not always, incorporated swimming pools for further health and enjoyment. Typically, there would be two or three pools of different sizes within the building, for men, women and children. Around the galleried top-lit pools were the changing cubicles. The building could also contain a washhouse, or steamie, providing hot tubs for washing clothes, and large mangles and driers. The steamie was a great place for women to socialise while doing the family’s laundry, a fact underlined by the play of that name. Many Glaswegians continued to use bathing and laundry facilities up until the mid 20th century and even later.
2. Very few of these buildings now survive in Glasgow, or even Scotland as a whole. Due to maintenance issues and changes in social habits, baths and washhouses have become steadily redundant and latterly derelict. In the 1980s, the pools, though still well-used, were superseded by leisure centres and the problem arose as to what to do with existing buildings. The washhouse was converted to a launderette in 1971 and became a gym. The pools closed in 2001.
Surviving examples of pools, baths and washhouses in Glasgow
3. The Corporation baths were built in imitation of private swimming pools dating from the 1870s. The idea was to bring the health and fitness that the private clubs offered to a wider public. Two of these early private clubs, the Arlington Baths and Western Baths, continue to operate successfully in the city. However, of the many public baths with swimming pools built by the Office of Public Works during the period, only Whitevale Street, Govanhill and Govan are extant, though the Govan baths are now derelict and unlisted. Of the other pools from this period, North Woodside is still in use with its interior having been substantially reconstructed in 1990 behind the façade. Parkhead was on the Buildings at Risk Register until 1995 when it was converted to flats. Whiteinch was also converted, leaving little or nothing of the interiors. Maryhill baths may be reopened as a swimming pool by Glasgow City Council but the original interior has already been removed and replaced.
4. In 2001 when Govanhill Baths closed, they were the only original, substantially unaltered public baths in the city still in use, making them a rare and important survival. Edinburgh City Council still operates five of its remaining traditional public baths and Dundee has one, whereas Glasgow has closed all of its examples.
Architectural significance of Govanhill Baths
5. The baths were designed by the City Surveyor, Alexander Beith McDonald, and built 1912-17 in Edwardian baroque style. The Glasgow volume of Buildings of Scotland (1990) describes the baths as having a ‘lavish interior, substantially unaltered’ (p525). Continued use as originally intended has meant the interior has remained largely intact. The baths were listed at Category B in 1992 in the resurvey of the city.
6. The complex comprises an entrance and hot bath block to Calder Street, faced with red sandstone ashlar, brick and concrete structures housing pools and baths, and the
7. washhouse with chimney to the north. These buildings occupy an entire block in Govanhill and contain three top-lit pools: the main galleried pool, the small pool and the smaller learners’ pool. All three pools are important in their own way but it is the main pool with its cast-iron railed gallery, tiling, changing cubicles and ferro-concrete arched ribs supporting a glazed roof structure that gives the baths their highly distinctive character. The original tiling has been overlaid except at regularly spaced wreath motifs. When discussing the significance and future of the buildings that constitute Govanhill Baths, it is neither useful nor easy to separate the exterior from these interior elements. The EDAW/ Page and Park feasibility study consequently addresses options for change based on the varied disposition of interior spaces.
8. The precocious use of reinforced concrete in a damp environment here (and also at Govan Elder Street) illustrates a willingness to experiment by City Architects that had already shown itself to dramatic effect at Kelvin Hall. The broader the span and the more light that passes through, the more impressive is the architectural effect.
Hierarchy of significance (numbering relates to the engineering report floor plans)
9. The most important element is the largest of the pools (14), followed by the second largest (36), which is similar, with arched reinforced concrete roof trusses, but without a gallery. The third pool (40) is of much lower importance and has a flat ceiling, as do assorted access corridors and a maze of small rooms (41-57) of low significance that could well be rearranged without harm to the character of the building. Of middling importance is the interior of the steamie, (30-35) as it lacks the associated plant and clothes horses, but still has impressive concrete roof trusses. The hot baths at the first floor to Calder Street (100-108) are steel replacements behind functional timber screens below a light steel roof. Of least significance is the chimney, (18) which is a steel replacement of the original brick stalk. Filtration equipment (in rooms 16-21) are not of special importance and in this area a considerable degree of change may be anticipated.
10. The south elevation is most impressive, followed by the north with its row of thermal windows. The east and west elevations are more utilitarian, altered and therefore offer appropriate locations for further intervention.
11. In the structural report by EDAW/Page & Park the building’s condition is said to be fair although repair work is required. This makes it difficult to make poor condition alone the case for demolition. Historic Scotland’s engineer compiled a report on the structure after a site visit in February 2004.
12. There is a requirement to market the baths to a restoring purchaser, a prerequisite set out in the Memorandum of Guidance for Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas (1998), which sets out Government policy in Scotland, before any application could be made to demolish the building: “2.13: Planning authorities which are disposed to grant consent to a proposed demolition may wish to note that in considering the case, Scottish Ministers will wish to be satisfied that every possible attempt has been made to find a suitable alternative use. For example, Scottish Ministers would normally expect to see evidence that the building had been advertised for sale or long lease to a restoring purchaser on the open market for a reasonable period, and at a price reflecting its location and condition, without success before granting demolition consent.”
13. Glasgow City Council commissioned a feasibility study for the complex. Compiled by EDAW and Page & Park Architects, it arrived at the conclusion that ‘complementary swimming’ or a business centre offered the best new uses. Government policy states that the best function for any building is its original intended use. As stated in NPPG 18, Para 21 ‘the fact that a building is obsolete for a short period of time is not in itself justification for unsympathetic change’. However it is necessary also to grasp the opportunities presented by a change of use. Thus a swimming pool in Roubaix, France, is now an art gallery and restaurant, retaining historic filtration plant, and one in Charleroi, Belgium, now incorporates
flats. In either case statues and flats look onto and benefit from the arched spaces over modified pools.
La Piscine, Roubaix
14. There have been no enquiries to Historic Scotland about building repair grant aid though it is perfectly possible that this would be considered due to the building’s (increasing) rarity and cultural significance.
15. All of these issues would have to be taken into consideration in an application for Listed Building Consent. Historic Scotland will be very receptive to an innovative solution that exploits the key internal spaces and secures a future for the complex.
Le Bassin de Natation de Broucheterre, Charleroi, before and after conversion to 33 social housing units, Belgium
16. While the steamie facilities are obviously now redundant, physical preservation and interpretation of their cultural significance would reinforce artistic commemoration in such plays as Tony Roper’s “The Steamie”. As a major part of Glasgow’s cultural heritage, any significant elements of a ‘steamie’ or baths should be conserved in some way. They are a very threatened building type.
17. Govanhill Baths are therefore recognised as an architecturally and historically important part of the city’s history. They are particularly important culturally in that until recently they offered a valued and distinctive facility open to all members of the community. Any proposed reuse of Govanhill Baths must take into account more than simply the preservation of a façade: the spaces given over to the pools are of importance and their reuse must be considered extremely carefully.
Imagine creating your own patio with beautiful outdoor wickerfurniture, aluminum furniture and a guitar shaped swimming pool! Wicker paradise has found an amazing article on design and outdoor Decor featuring this gorgeous guitar shaped swimming pool. Wha
Image by Wicker Paradise
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Stadio Olimpico del Nuoto
Image by morshus
The beautiful Stadio Olimpico del Nuoto indoor aquatics centre at the Foro Italico in Rome, Italy, during the 13th FINA World Aquatics Championships in Rome 2009. Inaugurated in 1959, designed by architects Enrico Del Debbio and Aniballe Vitellozzi to host the swimming, diving, water polo, and swimming portion of the modern pentathlon events for the 1960 Summer Olympics, refurbished to host the European Aquatics Championships in 1983, reconfigured and expanded for the 1994 World Aquatics Championships, and then used again as the Roma 09 warmup pool.