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Pools, Baths and Lidos

Inspired by the exhibition Into the Blue: the origin and revival of pools, swimming baths and lidos, RIBApix showcases a wider range of material held by the RIBA Collections from Roman baths and Victorian bath houses to lidos, pithead baths and contemporary swimming spaces.

For further images see bathslidosopen-air poolsswimming pools and pithead baths.

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Baldwyn's, Lingfield Road, Baldwins Hill, East Grinstead, West Sussex: the swimming pool and south front showing the living area with timber hyperbolic paraboloid roof

RIBA2574-11
Bronek Katz R. Vaughan & Partners
NOTES: This substantial steel-framed house on a twenty-acre sloping site was designed by Bronek Katz R. Vaughan & partners for Mr Fred Kobler, managing director of Grand Hotels (Mayfair, London). An assistant architect of the practice, John Heath, was responsible for the interior design.

Empire Pool nearing completion, Wembley, London

RIBA2969-30
Williams, Sir Evan Owen (1890-1969)
NOTES: Built for the 1934 Empire Games, this was the largest covered bath in the world on completion. The pool was capable of being decked over to take an ice skating rink and also a tournament arena. The pool itself was last used for the 1948 Summer Olympics, after which the building has been used for entertainment and known simply as Wembley Arena.

Empire Pool, Wembley, London: the pool hall seen from a spectators' gallery

RIBA7306
Williams, Sir Evan Owen (1890-1969)
NOTES: Built for the 1934 Empire Games, this was the largest covered bath in the world on completion. The pool was capable of being decked over to take an ice skating rink and also a tournament arena. The pool itself was last used for the 1948 Summer Olympics, after which the building has been used for entertainment and known simply as Wembley Arena.

Baths of Diocletian with Santa Maria degli Angeli, Rome

RIBA7993
Michelangelo (1475-1564)
SOURCE: Giovanni Battista Piranesi. Vedute di Roma (Rome, [1747?-1788]), pl. 116 NOTES: The Baths of Diocletian were built in 298-306; the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli occupies the central hall of those Baths. Michelangelo designed the conversion in 1563-1566 for Pius IV, but Vanvitelli altered the church in 1749.

Ugolino Golf Club, Florence: the swimming pool

RIBA8108
Bosio, Gherardo (1903-1941)

Pithead baths, Betteshanger, Kent

RIBA8114
Forshaw & Kemp

New baths and washhoses for the Parish of St Pancras, Tottenham Court Road, London

RIBA10078
Gundry, Horace (1841-1900)
SOURCE: Builder, vol. 35, 1877 Dec. 8, p. 1224

Passmore Edwards Public Library, baths and washouses, Hoxton, Shoreditch, London

RIBA10901
Hare, Henry Thomas (1861-1921)
SOURCE: Hermann Muthesius. Die Englische Baukunst der Gegenwart (Leipzig: Cosmos, 1900), pl. 23

Bains de la Sauveniere public baths, Liege

RIBA11488
Dedoyard, Georges (1897-1988)

Imperial Villa (known as the Terme di Baia), Baia: Tempio di Mercurio

RIBA16970
SOURCE: Paolo Antonio Paoli, Avanzi delle antichita esistenti a Pozzuoli Cuma e Baja (Naples: 1768), pl. 54 NOTES: The ruins of the Terme di Baia represent the remains of a Roman imperial palace (1st century BC-3rd century AD) where the so-called Tempio di Mercurio formed part of the baths. Its dome is thought to be the oldest example of a large-scale dome, pre-dating the Pantheon.

Foreshore development, Folkestone: the open-air swimming pool

RIBA17573
Pleydell-Bouverie, David (1911-1994)

Swimming pool at Brno

RIBA18307
Fuchs, Bohuslav (1895-1972)

Bath building

RIBA19773
Thomson, James (1800-1883)
SOURCE: James Thomson. Retreats: a series of designs, consisting of plans and elevations for cottages, villas, and ornamental buildings (London, 1827), pl. 38

Baths of Caracalla, Rome: design for a proposed reconstruction of the Tepidarium

RIBA21649
Aitchison, George (1825-1910)
NOTES: This and another drawing of the Baths of Caracalla were made in connection with four lectures on Roman architecture given by Aitchison at the Royal Academy in January or February 1889.
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