The video constitutes an empathic study of the visual qualities of the spring water and acoustic qualities of the Well. The video moves through dark and beautiful textures and as light is introduced to the subjects, new colours and forms emerge, the voices of those recording the images reflect their contemplation and pleasure as they gather visual treasures. The human sounds effectively map the space of the well chamber and as bathers arrive fun escalates. Human compositions provide images which are both classical and timeless and other sensory delights are on offer too.
Artist Glenn Davidson led a 'vertical studio' for the Welsh School of Architecture this year. The proposal was to re-imagine the old forgotten grade II listed thermal spring at Taffs Well, 6 miles north of Cardiff Wales. Creative physical engagement and a visual and acoustic study may invigorated ideas to develop the site.
On 22nd April 2013 the team started out from the WSA to cycle to Taffs Well where investigations and activities have resulted in the making of this video and the various design proposals below. They are the first people to enjoy the tepid waters of Taffs Well thermal spring for around 60 years, an experience quoted in the past, to heal rheumatism and revitalise.
The experience of film making and physical performance was used to research the site. The team also explored the adjacent Garth Mountain, met park users and community members and attended professional presentations on hydrology, philosophy of time and place and health and belief around wells and springs.
The following proposals were then made by 1st and 2nd years students working together, having been deeply effected through their experience of place - in no order:
Eliza Stuart and Liberty Watts
designed new cosmetic products from the iron oxide in the spring Water they also researched a sustainable self financing business plan including apothecary plants grown on site.
Alistair Nicoll and Tom Owens
designed of Taff Trail cycle route redirected through Tongwynlais and Taffs Well to the site, utilising the river flood bank and proposal for a new pedestrian cycle bridge over Taff River toward Garth. Also a park plan with spectator steps in flood defences, a new pavilion connecting tennis and bowls activities, and outside thermal bathing pools.
designed a series of ‘vertical bathing spots’ set along a processional route from Ffynnon Dwym to the top of Garth Mountain.
Catrine Gusmao Frade and Sam Parsons
designed a classical paradise, an elegant spa and a tunnel entrance dug into site flood bank, "a space that respects heritage and history, drawing upon ideas of communal baths as places to heal, restore and revive".
made a design for the enhancement of the sonic environment of the riverbank reflected through the flood bank tunnel to enhance the acoustic chamber of the well. Production of a painting about the acoustic quality of the site.
proposed a heat exchanger system creating a sustainable source of thermal energy for the pavilion and spa.
examined contradictions and assumptions of the Green Flag scheme in respect of planning for the parks future and designed vertical grown elements to integrate into pavilion and apothecary proposals. Andy also produced an interesting clay artefact - a site model.
Special thanks to:
Ray Edwards, Kevin Huish, Paul Kent, John Spanswick : RCT
Gareth Farr : The Royal Geological Survey
Bronwen Thomas : Landscape Architect
Chris Groves : Cardiff University / Philosophy Cafe / Sustainable Places
Paul Kent : Keep Wales Tidy
Sergio Pinada, Mike Fedeski, Cristian Suau : Welsh School of Architecture