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The Springboard in the Pond: An Intimate History of the Swimming Pool (Graham Foundation/MIT Press Series in Contemporary Architectural Discourse) [Paperback]

Thomas A P Van Leeuwen
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 20.95
Price: 18.73 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

3 April 2000 Graham Foundation/MIT Press Series in Contemporary Architectural Discourse
Although others have written eloquently on the relationship of water to built form, until now no one has investigated the swimming pool as a quintessentially modern and American space, reflecting America's infatuation with hygiene, skin, and recreation. In The Springboard in the Pond, Thomas van Leeuwen looks at a familiar hole--the domestic swimming pool--and discovers an icon indispensable to the reading of twentieth-century modernism.At one level, the book is a rereading of modern architecture that will leave that story permanently altered. At another level, it is the story of the origin and evolution of the private swimming pool as a building type and cultural artifact. And at still another level, it is a material philosophy of water. Van Leeuwen explores the human relationship to water from a variety of viewpoints: social, religious, artistic, sexual, psychological, technical, and above all architectural. Throughout the book, he weaves a series of analogies to three emblematic animals--frog, swan, and penguin--that represent the three prevailing human attitudes toward water: hydrophilia, hydrophobia, and ambivalence. The books many illustrations--drawings, plans, and photographs--come from an unusual variety of sources, creating what is surely the most provocative visual archive of the swimming pool ever assembled.This book is the second in a planned tetralogy by the author, with each volume centered on the relationship of architecture to one of the four classical elements: sky, water, fire, and earth. The first volume was The Skyward Trend of Thought: The Metaphysics of the American Skyscraper (MIT Press, 1988). The third volume, Columns of Fire: Architecture and Destruction, is currently in preparation.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: MIT Press; New Ed edition (3 April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262720329
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262720328
  • Product Dimensions: 25 x 25 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 906,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

" The Springboard in the Pond is a bracing intellectual plunge. A searching exploration of manners, morals, and darker truths in cultural and architectural history, it is both insightfully serious and wildly funny." Thomas S. Hines , Los Angeles Times"[R]ichly written and generously illustrated... van Leeuwen succeeds in showing us the depths beneath the tinest ripples of history." Phil Patton , Civilization "At a moment where 'all that is solid' seems precarious,Thomas van Leeuwen's History of the Swimming Pool is an heroicand timely attempt to theorize an architecture of the liquid." Rem Koolhaas " The Springboard in the Pond is a bracing intellectual plunge. A searching exploration of manners, morals, and darker truths in cultural and architectural history, it is both insightfully serious and wildly funny." Thomas S. Hines , Los Angeles Times "[R]ichly written and generously illustrated... van Leeuwen succeeds in showing us the depths beneath the tinest ripples of history." Phil Patton , Civilization

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The Springboard in the Pond is a reflective history of the origin and the evolution of the private swimming pool as a building type. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
T.A.P. van Leeuwen, a teacher of mine, has written a book about all the different aspects of the swimming pool. TAP van Leeuwen manages to evoke new kinds of interesting emotions concerning water- and he manages to fill the pool with these emotions. After all, the pool, as he himself describes it, has no very interesting shape: it's just a floating boarding or a concrete hole-in-the-ground.
TAP van Leeuwen has made an excellent choice to show as much as possible in different media, all shattered around on the spread: notes next to the text next to pics. The very thorough and beautiful design of the book itself makes this possible- and points back to its archetype, the "Bauen in Frankreich"-book by Sigfried Giedion (a lifelong teacher for van Leeuwen). I liked very much the part about all the fifties-Hollywood-stars, sitting besides or floating atop of the water, in their expensive tweed costumes, afraid of the water and proud of their success (of owning a pool?). Let's all take a dive into the richness of this book, a book definitely not about architecture, only, architecture is the only housing into which these stories have a room.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rem Koolhaas 8 July 2008
By Timgt
Format:Paperback
Received this fine book recently. I have yet to read it, but it is richly illustrated, has a fine bibliogaphy and is well indexed.
Here is what architect Rem Koolhaas has to say about it:
"At a moment when 'all that is solid' seems precarious, Thomas van Leeuwen's history of the swimming pool is an heroic and timely attempt to theorize an architecture of the liquid".
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History of Swimming Pool 20 Nov 1999
By Simulacrum - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is the second in an anticipated series of four unorthodox books by a Dutch historian on architecture in relation to the classical elements: sky, water, fire and earth. The first volume, about the metaphysics of the American skyscraper, was published in 1988; while the third, which will focus on buildings destroyed by fire, is in preparation. This second volume, which is illustrated by more than 200 drawings, plans and vintage photographs, is a wonderful visual and verbal review of the origin and evolution of the domestic swimming pool, which is, as the author describes it, "the architectural outcome of man's desire to become one with the element of water, privately and free of danger." To swim in a hole in the backyard, he continues, "is a complex and curious activity, one that oscillates between joy and fear, between domination and submission, for the swimmer delivers himself with controlled abandonment to the forces of gravity, resulting in sensations of weight- and timelessness." This is a history of architecture, as exemplified by a single building type; while, at the same time, it is a rich, multi-faceted social history in which the behavior of humans toward water is shown in relation to religion, sex, art, psychology, engineering and architecture. (Copyright by Roy R. Behrens from Ballast Quarterly Review, Vol. 15, No. 1, Autumn 1999.)
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oceanomare of all feeling & thoughts connected with the pool 16 Mar 2001
By Dick van Broekhuizen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Oceanomare of all feeling & thoughts connected with the pool, T.A.P. van Leeuwen, a teacher of mine, has written a book about all the different aspects of the swimming pool. TAP van Leeuwen manages to evoke new kinds of interesting emotions concerning water- and he manages to fill the pool with these emotions. After all, the pool, as he himself describes it, has no very interesting shape: it's just a floating boarding or a concrete hole-in-the-ground.
TAP van Leeuwen has made an excellent choice to show as much as possible in different media, all shattered around on the spread: notes next to the text next to pics. The very thorough and beautiful design of the book itself makes this possible- and points back to its archetype, the "Bauen in Frankreich"-book by Sigfried Giedion (a lifelong teacher for van Leeuwen). I liked very much the part about all the fifties-Hollywood-stars, sitting besides or floating atop of the water, in their expensive tweed costumes, afraid of the water and proud of their success (of owning a pool?). Let's all take a dive into the richness of this book, a book definitely not about architecture, only, architecture is the only housing into which these stories have a room.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Judge a book by the title 3 April 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A clever title and a very clever book. Wide ranging in scope, with many unusual insights. At the present bargain price it is a must have. Makes you think, and not in the usual way you think.
5.0 out of 5 stars Splich Splash 8 Jan 2014
By monsieurpatric - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I sought it as research in a writing project. A certain arcana is afforded me in this deliberate never obdurate study of pools for swimming.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oceanomare of all feeling & thoughts connected with the pool 25 Mar 1999
By Benedictus J.M. van Broekhuizen (giotto@dds.nl) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
T.A.P. van Leeuwen, a teacher of mine, has written a book about all the different aspects of the swimming pool. TAP van Leeuwen manages to evoke new kinds of interesting emotions concerning water- and he manages to fill the pool with these emotions. After all, the pool, as he himself describes it, has no very interesting shape: it's just a floating boarding or a concrete hole-in-the-ground.
TAP van Leeuwen has made an excellent choice to show as much as possible in different media, all shattered around on the spread: notes next to the text next to pics. The very thorough and beautiful design of the book itself makes this possible- and points back to its archetype, the "Bauen in Frankreich"-book by Sigfried Giedion (a lifelong teacher for van Leeuwen). I liked very much the part about all the fifties-Hollywood-stars, sitting besides or floating atop of the water, in their expensive tweed costumes, afraid of the water and proud of their success (of owning a pool?). Let's all take a dive into the richness of this book, a book definitely not about architecture, only, architecture is the only housing into which these stories have a room.
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