Streamlines, Vortices & Plumes

Dr Lisa Moffitt
Dr Simone Ferracina

MArch 2018/19

immersive infrastructure  /  rewilding obsolescene

The former gasworks of Bath Gas Light and Coke Company linger impressed on the banks of the River Avon. Three adjacent decommissioned gasholder bases are a spatial anomaly in the homogenous Georgian cityscape of central Bath, latent disclosures of the city’s occluded productive industrial heritage. The site now lies fallow; a hinterland on the cusp of modern residential development.

Rewilding Obsolescence proposes a re-working of the former gasworks site through a choreographed re-inhabitation. Whilst the broader site is given over to ecological processes, Bath’s mineral rich spring water is re-directed into the three basins enabling the concentrated growth and harvesting of algae biomass for heat and energy, and, following filtration, collective bathing.

The pristine articulation of the Bathhouse acts as a visual counterpoint to the rewilded site. Bathers perform a carefully scripted route through spaces materialised in lightweight frames and pools retained in a heavy, cast base. Light is diffused, leaking between finned screens amid airflows. Constructed apertures focus colocations of sky, ground, verdure and built fabric. Surfaces regulate and radiate. Steam rises through steel grating from hot pools below; engulfing, veiling, condensing on skin.

Strategically placed interventions punctuate the wider site as outposts, annexes of Bathhouse apparatuses. Bathers are orientated within this landscape of strange symbioses between ecology, infrastructural operations and an instated culture of communal bathing.

The proposal operates within Immersive Infrastructures and a post-carbon narrative for Bath; space heating is radically reduced, and the historic social practice of bathing is de-centralised and re-democratised, serving as an anchor for local thermal hubs. 

aerial image courtesy
The Museum of Bath at Work,

excerpt from
The Original Bath Guide,