Southwark Lido by EXYZT and Sara Muzio



The Southwark Lido by French architecture collective EXYZT and filmmaker Sara Muzio was open to the public as part of the London Festival of Architecture last weekend.


Curated by The Architecture Foundation, the temporary scaffolding structure included a sauna, paddling pool, spray deck, viewing platform and changing rooms.


Photo by Agnese Sanvito except where stated otherwise. Renderings by EXYZT, commissioned by Architecture Foundation.

The following information is from the London Festival of Architecture, which continues until 20 July:


An exciting temporary lido, created by acclaimed French architecture collective EXYZT and filmmaker Sara Muzio will appear on Union Street, London SE1 this summer. 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 will host 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; a bar operated by east London restaurant Bistrotheque.


On hand to assist visitors will be the lido team wearing uniforms designed by House of Holland. Adding colour will be 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. Above photo by Jack Goffe.


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.


Posted on Friday July 18th 2008 at 1:11 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Bozo

    love it

  • leopoldo

    Muy bonito, linda idea.

  • jp

    How was the party?

  • Post

    looks nice, must be big fun. Reminds me a lot of the “Volkspalast”-projects ( some years ago..

  • ace

  • leandro locsin

    smooth to the eye, hard for the touch

  • Peter.G

    This project highlights all that is impotent, corrupt and therefore disappointing, frustrating and infuriating about the London Festival of Architecture.

    It claims to be all about the neighbourhood – which if you read messages on established SE1 neighbourhood blogs ‘the locals’ complain about noise from the project and the lack of consideration from the people running it. There is no way this project could engage with the people who live close by as the architects involved see the locals as people needing help, that for 17 days they will be there to help the locals. These so called radical thinking architects are just ‘French playboys’ (their own words) practicing / rehearsing to behave like the developers they will soon become.

    This project has been paid for with public and charitable funds – it cost a small fortune and is nothing but a folly for the same upper middle class people who like to drink the £30 per bottle champagne for sale at their bar while congratulating their friends on their latest uber -lightweight theory on ‘cities as scaffolding’ and ‘the border between entry and no entry via a space in the wall’ (otherwise called a door or gate!) (both overheard!)

    The images they have published are duplicitous in most cases, certainly the ones on their own website. They make a road look like a vast pool of water, for example. This highlights the ongoing role of spin in architecture & urbanism and its deadly venom for ‘the locals’. I know I certainly wanted to go for a swim and was actually mad at seeing the pathetic strip of shallow water.

    The concepts, while admirable (democracy etc) – are at best very naive (student like) and at worst; paternalistic and patronising. What I don’t understand is why they didn’t work with an existing project and support them do something useful and worthwhile, like fix an existing Lido that has fallen into disrepair? (they list many of their website) That would have been interesting and impressive – and lasting. There is a lot of useful work they could have done. Who let them build this while there is so much useful work that could have been done? Perhaps they plan to build this in a refugee camp in Africa or the Middle East and live with the people there? Maybe they have set up a charity to send scaffold to Africa or the Middle East to assist people do projects like this, where it is needed?

    Projects like this, make us architects look like fools that have money to burn in a time of economic crisis (which likely they are not experiencing) – such projects reinforce the cliché about architects; ‘silly, egotistic, gonna cost me allot of money and cause me a headache!’ This is the opposite of what the London Festival of Architecture should be about. FLA will mean nothing to Londoners until the festival starts to contribute to Londoner’s in a useful and worthwhile manner. Until then the same upper middle class 50 families, 400 students, 10 organisers and 50 sponsors will have to attend each and every of the 600+ events themselves. And we know what a burden that has been for them, they look exhausted keeping up appearances and having to constantly say how ‘amazing’ it is – for a full month!

  • roger Ashman

    Peter G’s statement is cutting but quite true. The Lido was advertised in the press as a feature that all could visit and relax at. I took my trunks to go for a swim only to be disappointed by the tiny children’s paddling strip. There was a bike installed at one end of the pool which i thought might pump in more water but it merely splashed the water about. Not impressed

  • Bozo

    It really cost a small fortune? For the erection of some scaffolding.
    Overpaid, innefficient british tradesman. Little less looking at page 3 and a bit more work should have had this up in a day.

  • Brian

    Am I right seeing Dj’s in the viewing area? IF it is so, scaffolding is one of the WORST structures for turntables. I have seen SOnic resonance wreak havoc with turntable needles as well as CD players in terms of vibration and oscillation feedback from the sound system.

    Looks cool though!


    The problem is the organisers of London Festival of Architecture are not architects, but actually events and marketing people.

  • exelente.. trabajo

  • THIS IS GREAT !!!!!

  • eneus

    How much did it cost?