Yesterday, I went to a very bizarre lecture on "An Intimate History of the Swimming Pool". The Swiss Institute in New York hosted a discussion with Thomas A.P. van Leeuwen on the cultural significance of the swimming pool. The author of “The Springboard in the Pond: An Intimate History of the Swimming Pool,” van Leeuwen outlined a compelling history of the swimming pool as a cultural artifact, investigating both the societal and architectural ramifications of man's relationship to water. So random...my friend and I had to go!
Here are 1 - 4 things I pulled from the lecture:
- Babies in their first months outside the womb, are supposedly uninhibited when it comes to swimming. (eg: they could swim in water and hold their breath)
- The rectangular pool has a military origin....the first people to formally learn how to swim were in the military. We saw pictures of the scary contraptions and devices the military used to train the men who were fearful of swimming.
- "L'Amérique Moderne (1911)": French author, Jules Huret, observed how Americans used sports, in particular, swimming as a form of socializing....inconspicuous leisure.
- The extravagant pools, or "Grotto's" of early 20th century millionaires were architecturally designed to take one the fantastical symbolism of the womb (pink lights, underworld-like sculptures and lounging women) *Think Hugh Hefner's Playboy mansion meets Rem Koolhaas architecture