On Friday 1st December, The Arlington Baths Club hosted the opening event of the ARTchitecture Exhibition in the club’s Reading Room. Chris and Charlie, my good friends, assisted in curating the show with me. By the preview opening time in the evening, all the art work was suitably displayed on the walls of the wonderful, bright reading room.
The Arlington Baths is a not-for-profit member- run swimming club situated in an A listed building west of Charing Cross near Woodlands Road. The baths are the oldest baths club in Europe. Founded in 1870, the club offers a relaxing sanctuary in the heart of Glasgow for members, myself included.
The building was originally designed by architect John Burnett, father of the better known Sir J J Burnett. Four extensions were designed by different architects and added over a period of 30 years during the Victorian era.
The Arlington Baths became the inspiration for several collages and paintings which I created especially for the show, displayed for the first time at the exhibition.
In July 2017, I was given permission by club management to take photographs of the architectural features of the building both internally and externally, while the club was closed for essential maintenance. I took 150 photographs with my sketchbook camera. I photographed the pool area, the extensive wooden roof beams with daylight streaming in, the Turkish Suite with the wonderful ‘starry’ ceiling and Minton Victorian tiles and the light and airy upstairs gym space.
I originally envisaged one collage being completed. However from the photographs, three collages evolved in three different colourways with three different compositions.
The red collage depicts the poolside ‘A’ logo, surrounding an original bell or light switch found on the walls in the Turkish Suite. The red glass star decoration from the roof of the Turkish Suite dominates this collage. A closer look reveals a section of the wooden loungers and the roof beams above the swimming pool. also represented is the tiled Greek key design which decorates the floor of the Turkish Suite.
The Blue collage features a view from the side of the pool illustrating 5 swimming lanes, the hoops that hang above the pool, the gorgeous glass and wood beamed roof with blue skies and white clouds providing natural light in the swimming area. Also included in this collage are the blue glass stars from the ceiling of the Turkish suite and several other features.
The green collage highlights many external architectural features of the building including the classical Greek Key pattern engraved into the sandstone, terrazzo flooring around the pool area and the yellow glass stars of the Turkish Suite. A closer look reveals a green tree view out of a window in the upstairs club gym and a few pairs of flip flops stored on wooden shelves in the Slipper Room.