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Swim Thames

Shajay Bhooshan Studio

Ron Salvio Chua (Phillipines)
Henry David Louth (United States)
Guillermo Oliver (Mexico)
Yue Pei (China)

Swim Thames

The Thames historically offered Londoners a leisure swimming and social gathering programme along its banks. Once an amenity free to passers-by, now restrictions and contextual circumstance determine one’s ability to swim and safely explore its tidal foreshores. The nature of activity along the Thames does not match the lively, multi-modal, multidimensional experiences within the urban fabric itself. Furthermore, the discontinuity of riverfront pathways and residue of urban fixtures dotting the foreshore landscape indicate an opportunity for revitalising the ways we interface with, occupy and celebrate the spatial potentials of the tidal Thames. Our project seeks to expand the richness of available aquatic experiences in London, expanding programmatically beneath, within, above and along the Thames and its tidal foreshores. The research explores processes of formation and aggregation logic in regards to material and urban generation. In keeping with the material suspensions latent in the Thames, the research explores design participation and choreography of formation in particulate aggregation such as accretion, erosion and sedimentation toward high-resolution geometric responses. Extending formation processes toward urban scales of intervention, the research investigates form generation tailored to urban context by developing techniques of abstracting architectural intention toward urban features into notional layers. Explorations continue developing custom methods of information exchange, patterning, compositing and layered information rich expression of tailored design spaces in urban context. SWIM THAMES offers a distributed network of swim experiences and foreshore exploration at sites uniquely suited for urban regeneration and leisure along the Thames. Consider the potential of new activities, unique perspectives, and bespoke infrastructure from within London’s untapped territories activating further stretches of the river. What is now uninhabited or residual space in the heart of London takes on new life. Gabriel’s wharf, located on the shallower inner bend of the Thames between Waterloo and Blackfriars Bridge is an ideal location. Situated between the bustling South Bank and less traversed eastern river walk, the proposal seeks to soften the edge of the embankment and extend possible aquatic interfaces reconfiguring the foreshore as a tidal landscape.