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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The Vancouver Aquatic Centre: in-between phenomenon : water and land Cheung, Lisa


A modern large recreational hall may hardly recognize a sense of human scale nor provide users the architectural meaning corresponding to the activities it accommodates. The experimental project of renovating the Vancouver Aquatic Center attempts to reinstate the relationship between the body, water and architecture. There exist certain sequence and pattern in participating various leisure/fitness activities which require mental and physical preparation. I focus on accentuating the transitional experiences at different stages of taking part swimming, diving, and hot baths by creating spaces to allow mental readiness for activities and contemplation of experience. Thus, I explore the perception of edges by marking of different threshold, making it subtle or bringing it out into presence. This practice requires much envision of walking through the building and anticipation of how space to be used which corresponds to my study of history of bathing and questions of perception. In order to reintroduce the social value of bathing which exists in Japanese bath and the like, I expand the facilities program parallel to the concept of Roman Thermae where people can meet and interact. Therefore, the proposed new aquatic centre seeks to enhance social and visual communication between the surrounding environment and the building, between users outside and inside, between different activities within the building. Moreover, initiated by the study of phenomenological architecture, this project revolves around the idea of intriguing memories and emotions through associative and tactile experience by the use of materials, spatial configuration, lighting, transparency and the placement of apertures to capture views. I try to provide diversified experience with different forms of water, steam, hot/cold temperatures, brightness/darkness, hard/soft land, submerge/emerge, clear/opaque and other perception of space. The ultimate goal of this experiment is to provide users the meanings of the architectural form, space, material and order, yet as well give potential to allow the users' own interpretations.

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