quarta-feira, 2 de maio de 2012

Leça da Palmeira & Barcelona Swimming Pools |Álvaro Siza Vieira|

As i am investigating about swimming pools in my research for the final thesis, i'll show two very different approaches in the theme made by the same man; Álvaro Siza Vieira.  I'm sure you all heard about him, it's the most important Portuguese Architect; winner of the 1992 Pritzker Prize, the prestigious honor in architecture.


Between the year of 1961 and 1966, the architect worked on the shoreline of Leça da Palmeira located in the North of Portugal. The mass of the building set below the road level, that turns the building almost invisible from the visitors approach, allowing an ininterupted sea view.  Having a simple program that contains two swimming pools, changing facilities and one cafe, the purpose was to preserve the landscape, making the minor intrusion into the existing terrain possible. 

At that time there were no topography surveys as you can imagine, so the young Architect had to do it all by himself spending weeks marking the exact location of that rock formations. This allowed him to design the project with fewer demolitions.



Siza Viera's new Swimming Pool in Barcelona suburb of Cornella was a demonstration of the skills that he had gain. The construction was completed in the year of 2005 and it was a model of urban planning.

With a very different scale of the one i showed before, volumetrically is much more ambitious. Interlocking white concrete volumes; a rectangular box for the sports hall with an oval drum that incorporates the swimming pool.

The swimming pool entrance is not a normal row of doors, it has been made with two curving walls as a distortion of the circulation space. In the plan the curved lines seem random or naive to say the least, but the reality of the experience inside  shows that Siza dominates all the data of the equation, specially on where and when to introduce the light. 

The swimming pool has a shallow elliptical concrete dome with 62 circular roof lights. The progress of the sun during the day reflects off the water.
There are an indoor and an outdoor pool that are linked in an irregular shaped plan. The junction of those two is made with a glass door that can be dropped down from inside the wall like a portcullis to separate them.
The size of the outside pool is much bigger then the inside one, and the curves of it's perimeter are even pronounced.

These two projects are separated over four decades, and the difference of irreverence is notorious. In the first one the Architect was very young and it was one of his first constructed projects, i'm guessing that the invisibility applied reflects is youth. On the other hand the Barcelona complex is an attempt to conjugate all his knowledge and skills. Both are beautiful in their own way, no question about that. My personal taste goes to Leça da Palmeira but i think it's because i'm in the position Siza was seventy years ago LOL.

If you know any good project that you think i should see and post here please let me know. Over and Out!

5 comentários:

  1. I didn't know Siza Vieira designed swimming pools too. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Yes, he has one more done in Quinta da Conceição but it's not a relevant project compared with this two. Your welcome, thank for your comment! :)

  3. Hello. I found this post because I have been looking for a plan of Barcelona's pool, fortunaly, I found it, thank you for that. Yesterday I visited this building and I think that we can speak too much about GYM and wardroves incoporated in the big volume that connect the sport pavillion to the pool. This part of the building doesn't appear frequently when someone speak or write about it.

    As you ask in the post, I think you can see the intervertion in The Diana's Temple by Jose María Sánchez García in Mérida, not too far from Portugal. I hope you like it. It is a great project.

    Congratulations for your blog and sorry for my bad english.

    Miguel. www.miguelcayuelas.blogspot.com

    1. Hello Miguel,

      Thank you in advance for your message. I am really happy that my post helped your research.
      The most recognized and shared part of the complex are the swimming pool but as you said the rest of the complex and the connection between the two volumes are very complexed and beautiful too.

      Thank you for you advice on the intervention project, i enjoyed it very much ... maybe in a future post i will talk about it.

  4. Nos vamos ai no dia 08 de Agosto de 2012 com o projecto MAIS JOVEM o projecto de olival vila nova de Gaia.