av Marte Dale
Héctor Piña
Trudi Jaeger
Askøy, Norway

– A public bath for the community of Askøy

WHY: The weightless experience of being in water has accompanied me through my years as a swimmer. Experiencing many pools in different parts of the world to swim, train, compete, and in later years, to relax.

All over the world, water is the centre of many cultures. It has a strong social aspect to it. The great importance of water substantiates this social sense; we all need it. Therefore, it is not simply the architecture of swimming pools in relation to the movement in water that has caught my attention.

Sensory stimuli, such as pressure, temperature, pain and vibrations are perceived through receptors in the skin and are referred to as the sense of touch, or the tactile sense. The sense of touch starts to develop already in the fetus. This sense remains active even after vision and hearing are impaired in old age. The sense of touch is ageless.

Being close to water amplifies the feeling of vulnerability. The feeling of freedom, however, weighs up. Bodies in water become equal, they are all exposed to the same tactile sense. Water is the great equalizer.

Swimming is a way of touching water. Gliding weightlessly, slicing a silent trail through whatever path, is a sensual feeling everyone can, and should have the opportunity to experience. Periods of silence, freedom, undisturbed by daily surroundings, like a reset button, gives water a healing power.

The sensory experience of being in water, through resistance, is giving an awareness of where the arms and legs are. Through our senses we can build an understanding of ourselves, as a part of a larger, and perhaps more important, context. To create an opportunity for coexistence
between man and water, and to prepare humanity for the climate of the future, one must know how water behaves.