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Pool Art Project in Leeds: a virtual water collector

The Accumulator is an installation that was created by osa_office for subversive architecture inside the soon-to-be-demolished International Swimming Pool in Leeds. The 12 metre-high fabric structure is on public display since 21 February till 23 March 2008, and will be knocked down along with the entire building right afterwards.

The installation’s design focuses on the building as a landmark in the city and its former use as a public space. Its work transforms the former swimming pool into a virtual water collector, raising questions about resources and sustainability based on current discussions on climate change. However, at the same time it marks a symbol for the emotional charge of an important public space in the city. Changes in the society and in technical standards often demand conversions within the city Leeds International Swimming Pool, which was constructed in 1965-67, exhibits all the ‘swank’ and ‘jauntiness’ of the swinging sixties. This is also reflected in the shape of the funnel which has the virtual function to create a gateway to discussions about standards for modern buildings. Now that the building is deemed not to be energy efficient and would need extensive repair the decision has been made to demolish the building. Besides the formal and technical qualities that are to be replaced, the funnel symbolizes the emotional charge between the space and its users and allows the former users to exchange their experiences and say good bye to the building. This public pool now becomes not only a virtual water collector but also a big emotional accumulator in the city for the last 4 weeks of the building’s existence.

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