An educational institution that aspires to not only educate but also to entertain. A school that teaches not only students but also the public. A building that takes water, an otherwise mundane but essential component of our lives, and puts it on display.
SCUBA is a magnet school in downtown Austin that fills the unique need for an athletic venue, as there are very few in the city and none in the central business district. The proposal provides an aquatics complex that can accommodate swimming, platform diving, and water polo as well as more non-traditional water activities, such as freediving and SCUBA diving. The inclusion of a three story diving tank allows the school to also teach valuable vocational skills such as underwater welding and search and rescue diving. The critical role of the diving tank in the massing and circulation at both the building and urban scales reinforces the students' and the public's connection to the water. An overarching goal is the desire to raise awareness for how precious water is in all of our lives.
The site is adjacent to an existing park and our strategy was to partially extend the landscape onto our site while also serving as a focal object for park visitors. An oblique angle provides passers-by a view of the diving activities occurring in the school while the sculpted landscape on site provides a more formal viewing area.