The Light at the End of the Tunnel - ARC230

Updated: May 7, 2020

A building comprised of a ground floor communal space and accommodation above is not easy to design. Working on ARC230 (Falmouth University Architecture RIBA Part 1) my design was taking shape for the neighbourhood housing at a (pretend) site at Falmouth Docks Station. The idea of a glass bridge that was the centre point of the project was intended to remind the community of the old railway tracks that once sat on the site and became a key concept. The light from this bridge would provide a connection and light up the darker interior of the site.

Deciding how to use the ground floor, I took another look at the sun path from a different perspective:

I found a number of really useful illustrations that helped explain light penetration:

The vine covered street was a starting point:

Even in Spanish this made sense:

The colour and brightness of light was also a factor to consider, as well as from where it was being projected and where the light fell...

Having scrapped the idea of a hobby space, I now began to realised that there was one thing was missing in Falmouth which would suit conditions of reduced light; a swimming pool and especially one of 10 x 25m!

Swimming pools should not have direct sunlight hitting the surface of the water as the glare creates blind spots for lifeguards. Diffused bright light is ideal, similar to that provided by the glass walkway and a north lit glass curtain wall. I looked at a number of precedents, and particularly admired Les Bains des Docks by Jean Nouvel 2009, which comprises of 12 pools within 5000 square metres of leisure space created as part of a regeneration of the docks in Le Havre, France.

According to · PDF

The two most popular two sports among adults were swimming and health and fitness activities (e.g. going to the gym). Swimming for over 50s came third in the most frequent activity.

The next stage of the design was to ensure that the pool would fit on the site and the structure would cope... see next blog!

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