Two, or maybe three, images were important then I designed the extension to the Citadel Swimming Baths in Landskrona. Two of them came from outside, one from within.
The last came first.
My first memory is blue, blue sky beyond the water’s surface. Turquoise if I look to the side. Weightlessness and unreality. The silence is broken as I am dragged up through the water’s surface. That is my very first memory. Almost drowning in my grandfather’s pool.
The Citadel Swimming Baths have three pools: one for lane swimming, one for diving and one for children. Three rectangles of rippled turquoise. Next to them a new building as a rectangle of rippled blue. The water runs over glass in four colours. A vertical pool among the three horizontal ones.
The next image came to me as I was slightly older, visiting the museums of my hometown with my parents. In the middle of the 19th century did the Swedish artist Marcus Larsson paint the power of nature in a wild and furious picture called Waterfall in Småland. But Larsson was far from the wilderness then he worked with the motif. The water, light, clouds, wind and decay were all painted in a studio in Paris. It is a view out to the wild viewed safely from the inside. This impression was later to be transformed into architecture – to create a view toward the wild from the protected world behind walls. The sea is glimpsed through slits in the building. It becomes the slash in the opposites inside/outside, or culture/nature.
David Hockney made the final image. His colourful pictures of pools were transformed into a tile mosaic, at once hard and soft. It feels like the skin of a lizard and rolls out like rings on the water, both inside and outside the building. The building’s vast surfaces are cool and often wet. The glass lets in the light and creates two shades of blue. Layered edges on the patterns of the circles, as the water’s surface reflects its surroundings.
Sky and pools are mirrored in the running water. The wet glazing of the façades glitters in shades of blue, suggesting the shimmering light of the sea. The 50-metre saltwater pool, dating from 1967, is one of Sweden’s fastest. Water sets the theme of both architecture and landscaping. The sea is glimpsed through slits, and the tapering judges’ tower alludes to the city’s distinctive water tower.