LIDO EXYZT 00

SOUTHWARK LIDO

July 14, 2008

An exciting temporary lido, created by EXYZT and filmmaker Sara Muzio appeared on Union Street, London SE1 0NL during summer 2008. Following in the tradition of Roman baths and Turkish hammams, which provided a setting for social gathering, ritual cleansing and uninhibited political discussions, the Southwark Lido hosted a variety of activities in an unusual, architecturally innovative environment. Curated by The Architecture Foundation, the Lido will provide bathing and breathing space for the general public, residents of Southwark and visitors to London Festival of Architecture alike.

Within a futuristic low-tech complex, visitors of all ages can enjoy the refreshing spray of the water deck, or sweat it out in a sauna; there will be a paddling pool for children; beach huts doubling as changing rooms and living pods for staff; a sun deck and a mobile garden, created on-site in collaboration with Bankside Open Spaces Trust, which will be distributed throughout the neighbourhood at the end of the Festival.

The Southwark Lido expresses EXYZT’s strategy of urban renewal, based on the idea that a community of users actively creating and inhabiting their urban environment is key to generating a vibrant city. This project explores the potential of using a site in transition from empty lot to new residential and office buildings, generously lent by Solid Space, to create a vibrant point of community and cultural engagement during its transformation. The run-up to its installation will see the organisers forming links with the local community and specific groups, providing them with a new place to hold events and share their work.

The Lido sits within LFA2008′s Southwark & South Bank Hub curated by The Architecture Foundation, which occupies a dynamic part of London that has moved away from its traditional label as “the other side” of the Thames. It is now a major cultural quarter, with key venues like Tate Modern sitting alongside proposed urban redevelopments such as The Shard (Renzo Piano’s new office tower) and developments at London Bridge. Lively activities across the Hub will build on the area’s history, reveal a hinterland of hidden territories and offer new visions for the contemporary city.