One of my areas of interest regarding architecture and society is the vision of the post-human in the technological age. I believe that we are in many ways richer and technologically more advanced than a century ago, but paradoxically we’re not necessarily healthier or happier. As an architect I consider sustainability not only in an ecological sense but in the way of the human spirit, aiming to support mental wellbeing in the urban landscape.
The Irk Lido
I knocked on the door. A wary lady answered. “Can I ask you a few questions about the area?” She agreed to speak to me even though her dinner was ready on the table. She told me a story of how she was born, married and widowed in the same house, on the same road. Throughout her years she witnessed the rise and fall of her community. Urban sprawl has slowly transformed her suburban life into a forgotten backwater. “It’s a social cleansing” she said her voice quivering. It became apparent that not only is the Irk Valley abandoned and isolated but also the community living there.
The wounds of Irk Valley have been scarred into its narrative throughout time. How do you heal a wounded community and a post-industrial wasteland?
In many countries bathing is an integral part of their social culture. There are specific places to bathe, swim, socialise and feed body and soul. Many cultures have a long tradition of bathing. In England the art of public bathing does not have the same traditional roots embedded in our culture. These social bathing aspects appear to be missing in England’s privatised bathing etiquette.
This project proposes that building a thermal water facility into the natural landscape, will re-align the disconnect between people and place. Bathing creates a shared experience with others, whether or not verbal communication is exchanged. The Irk Valley requires a cleansing of the bathing kind.