How should we treat classical architecture that is too inefficient to be used but too valuable to demolish?
Edinburgh's first sustainably powered grand bath house is created by remodelling an iconic 19C school. This project offers a future-proof swimming pool design by utilising geothermal energy from the surroundings, without suffering high energy costs. The design is inspired by the original neoclassical architecture, European baths, and contemporary interior design.
Having identified that global warming is the world's biggest threat and that society could potentially have to abandon controlled swimming or spa facilities because of their cost and environmental impact, the project brief is to take an existing historic well-loved building and adapt, enhance and redesign its unused features to become Edinburghs first sustainably powered, functional public pool and spa.
Transforming the A-listed building to be an outstanding example for the future of swimming pool design.
I have chosen to use the Old Royal High School building for my design as it offers great views of Edinburgh, large amounts of storage areas in the ground floor and outbuildings which are essential for buildings holding mass amounts of water and geothermal technology.
Built in 1823, the neoclassical building consists of a main lecture theatre, left-wing, right-wing, outhouses, and a large lower ground floor space. Its preservation and transformation could bring attention to the beloved, historic building.
Because of certain buildings' high direct and indirect carbon emissions, the future design of them needs to change. Poorly designed and constructed buildings use more energy, increasing the demand for energy production and contributing negatively to global warming. Facilities like swimming pools, cold stores and hospitals.
Within a house, cooling and heating take up 47% of energy use. Heating water is around 14% of the house's energy use, according to Homeselfe. This is maximised in a large health and wellness facility, like a swimming pool that relies on keeping the pool water and other surrounding areas warm. This is expensive to keep up with, as well as being bad for the environment.
Keen swimmers and spa users over the age of 18 will be the typical user of this space to keep the atmosphere as relaxing as possible. Still, swimming lessons will be available on-site at certain hours for people wanting to take up swimming. Giving mature guests who haven’t previously learnt to swim a chance to embrace the relaxing environment and views while learning.
Due to these users, it is clear that a few elements will be essential upon designing:
• A relaxation space
• Accurate depth pool for paddling but also deep swimming
• Ergonomic and safety considerations
• An appropriate colour scheme that reflects relaxation
• Appropriate lighting used for the safety of people swimming/exploring space
• Appropriate changing and showering facilities
• A clear view spot for the surrounding environment
A sustainable bathhouse design powered by geothermal energy is my solution to future-proofing swimming pools in the UK. Using a mix of contemporary and neo-classical design to embrace the historic stone architecture and reappropriate it into a recreational water facility.
An expansive, enhanced, relaxation space for swimmers to appreciate the momentous architecture, hidden history and widespread Edinburgh views.