1 hour ago
Leça Swimming Pools by Álvaro Siza.
At 26, when he started working on the project, a salt water tank next to the ocean for public bath was the brief. Hated by everyone upon completion, for it's simplicity and humbleness to nature. Not an architectural masterpiece since it did not stand out bold, for it's time and trends. Over time, people came to appreciate the project, now understanding it's not what you see from a distance but what you experience in a space. Now, more than half a century old, the structure is a national monument of Portugal.
The place was shut to use now, but it's concrete walls are now as permanent a part of the coastline as any of the other rocks.
With changing times and changing relevance, the project seems to continue to impact and inspire. It sits there reminding us what power we hold as architects.
I sat there, wondering about the current relevance of the project. The very need of a public bath so close to the ocean. A luxury or a necessity? Do we intervene (even if it's minimal) in nature?
One of my mentors once said, I'm happy to know prestine beautiful places exists - untouched, and I'm happy to not visit them.
As an architect we will always be tormented by the battle between built v/s unbuilt. The significant question will be
Where, do we draw the line?
Do we draw the line?