Marquise: A Work of Art that Redefines the Public Pool

Is this a parasol planted in the sand, a tropical fish on land, a tent at the foot of Franklin Mountains… There’s an exuberant surface assuming multiple guises in Texas, an iconic piece of art, by Brooklyn based art and architecture studio, Marc Fornes/TheVerymany redefining the way we all look at the public pool.

Marquise is a spatial entry structure for El Paso’s Westside Natatorium. A visual icon and architectural structure which transforms the experience of a new public building…

Curvy, colorful, and self-supporting structural system, this two-way Cheshire gradient in deep blues and warm yellows alternate, graphically emphasizes the sweeping surfaces. Seemingly inflated by the wind, as a tent or sail, the ultra-thin surface billows up from the ground, where it forms two contiguous seats: cast in place concrete elements that inherit the compound curvature of the faceted but flowing surface.

Marquise strikes its visitors differently: for small guests lining up for swimming lessons, the surface overhead appears to be some kind of circus tent, or a parachute frozen in midair. A bit of excitement before it’s time to suit up. Older patrons might find a welcome moment of pause at this shady entrance, before water aerobics or heading back into the heat of the parking lot.

Under dappled light, we’ve carved out a place that isn’t just for coming or going, but for lingering. At all hours, the space under and around Marquise welcomes moments that stretch into longer duration. When you’re waiting for your ride or meeting the swim team, outside the Natatorium is a place to chill out before dipping in. Before 6am laps to after dusk, Marquise alternately shades and radiates for pool-goers and all others. The structure almost insists upon loitering — why ​wouldn’t you want to hang out there?

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