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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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Grotesque or rural bath: plan and elevation

RIBA95474
Wrighte, William (fl. 1767)
SOURCE: William Wrighte. Grotesque architecture (London, 1790), pl. 20 NOTES: This plate was printed from the same copper as the first edition in 1767.

Model for a swimming pool complex, Madrid

RIBA105663
Gutierrez Rivas, Nertos (1989-)
NOTES: Nertos Gutierrez Rivas is part of the Atelier La Juntana, a group of architects and artists developing architectural models in an international framework. They collaborate with many architectural pratices and have exhibited their work widely.

Kastrup Sobad (Sea Bath), seen from the wooden approach pier

RIBA105758
White Arkitekter
NOTES: A swimming pool created in the sea at the end of a one hundred-metre-long pier partly encircled by a wooden palisade housing changing rooms, benches and ramps. The wood is azobe, which is resistant to saltwater.

Kastrup Sobad (Sea Bath)

RIBA105761
White Arkitekter
NOTES: A swimming pool created in the sea at the end of a one hundred-metre-long pier partly encircled by a wooden palisade housing changing rooms, benches and ramps. The wood is azobe, which is resistant to saltwater.

Sun Centre, Rhyl, Denbighshire

RIBA106798
Gillinson Barnett & Partners

Sun Centre, Rhyl, Denbighshire: the swimming pool

RIBA106800
Gillinson Barnett & Partners

Dammerstock housing estate, Karlsruhe: detail of light fixture under eaves

RIBA112009
Gropius, Walter (1883-1969)
NOTES: This is a housing development to the south of the city, designed by Walter Gropius with assistance from Otto Haesler. It was the result of a competition in which Gropius was awarded first prize and Haesler second. Gropius co-ordinated the entire project with its different units, providing a total of 228 dwellings (out of the 750 planned). Gropius designed a five-storey block, a four-storey block and a row of terraced houses. The remaining blocks and service buildings are the work of Haesler, Riphahn, Grod, Roeckle, Lochstampfer, Rossler, Merz and Fischer.

Villa Cavrois, Croix: the garden elevation with swimming pool

RIBA112110
Mallet-Stevens, Robert (1886-1945)
NOTES: The Villa Cavrois was designed by Robert Mallet-Stevens in 1929-1932 for the wealthy industrialist Paul Cavrois. Remodelled in 1947 by Pierre Barbe, it was converted into three flats. In 1985 it had fallen into disrepair and by 2001 it was a virtual ruin, when it was bought by the state for a nominal sum of 1 euro, along with part of the grounds. Since then, there has been an extensive programme to restore the house back to its original 1932 form, under the supervison of Michel Goutal, Chief Architect of the Centre des Monuments Nationaux. This was completed in 2015, when the villa was opened to the public.

Design for pithead baths, Pye Hill Colliery, Jacksdale, Nottinghamshire, for the National Coal Board East Midlands Division: perspective depicted in snow

RIBA125097
Mayorcas, Elie (1908-1995)
NOTES: This is possibly the drawing exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in 1957 (Pithead Baths at the Pye Hill Colliery, for the National Coal Board, number 1332).

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 swimming pool 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 swimming pool 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.

Royal Commonwealth Pool, Edinburgh: the main pool hall showing the diving pool

RIBA10391
Robert Matthew Johnson-Marshall & Partners
NOTES: Built for the 1970 Commonwealth Games, this complex with long course pool and diving pool closed for refurbishment in 2009.

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

Foreshore development, Folkestone: the open-air swimming pool

RIBA17573
Pleydell-Bouverie, David (1911-1994)

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

Lansdowne Club, Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London: the swimming pool

RIBA24557
White Allom
NOTES: Charles Fox, a pupil of Louis de Soissons, was commissioned in 1930 to re-design Lansdowne House, designed by Robert Adam in 1762-68, for use as a private club. He remodelled the mansion to incorporate social rooms and a sports area, including a swimming pool, squash courts, fencing Salle, café and bar in the basement. Sir Charles Allom, whose firm Allom, White was responsible for the fitting out of the great Cunard liners Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, was commissioned to decorate the Club in the 'Arte Moderne' style. It opened as a club on 1st May 1935.

Royal Masonic Institution for Girls, Senior School, Rickmansworth: the swimming pool

RIBA24925
Denman, John Leopold (1882-1975)
NOTES: This purpose-built school was erected on the site of Rickmansworth Park house, which was demolished in 1926. The design for the new boarding and day school was put out to tender in an architectural competition. It was won by J L Denman, a Freemason himself, whose design incorporated Masonic symbolism, most noticeably in the semi-circle of eight houses, each of which having an H formation.

Public swimming baths, Granville Road, Willesden, London

RIBA25181
Johnson-Marshall, Sir Stirrat (1912-1981)

Snowdown Colliery pithead baths, Aylesham, Kent

RIBA25287
Kemp, Cecil George
NOTES: Cecil George Kemp was Chief Architect of the Miners' Welfare Commission and Chief Architect of the National Coal Board from 1926 to1949. The colliery closed in 1986 and the shafts capped.

Factory for Calibrated Papers Limited, Petersfield

RIBA25366
Carter Salaman MacIver & Upfold
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