The Springboard in the Pond
In The Springboard in the Pond, Thomas van Leeuwen looks at 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.
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.
"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