Sunday, 3 August 2014

Otago Therapeutic Pool

I must say my initial impressions of the Otago Therapeutic pool were very lack luster. Being a regular visitor to the city of Dunedin I would quite frequently drive past this building, but never blink an eye at this divine slice of Otago Modernism.

Built in the 1940’s, the Otago Therapeutic pool was the first of its kind, helping many young and old recovery patients. So when I was given this building for my studies, I knew there had to be something more, and boy I was right.

From the street this big slab of concrete and brick, lacks flare and design, and very much fits into its surroundings. A quick drive by and you would have no idea that this building was in fact a pool, as the only hints to what this building actually is, are the white signage that hangs off the side of the buildings concrete frame. It wasn’t until I stepped inside this amazing facility, that its true modernist beauty was shown.

My attention was first drawn the phenomenal rib like forms, which braced the interior ceiling. The rib like structure was coated in a vibrant light blue colour, which is commonly used in most commercial pools. The large steal frame windows that lined the buildings walls also added to its interior design flare making the building every modernists dream.

 The strange warmth of this place gave me the urge to want to dig deeper, and uncover the intestines of this development, What were the architects inspired by when designing this building? What makes this building a slice of modernist architecture? I could sit and ponder these questions all day, but my real question is how could the Dunedin city council even consider to dispose of this hidden modernist treasure, that is the Otago Therapeutic pool.

Emily Hargest

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