Marek Sivák of „Foster the City“ wrote that we were the only ones who could start the Pilsen Public Pool project with him… We have experience with the project of Public Benches, we understand the importance of communal politics in the process and we have the mobile caravan where we can sleep. We arrive in Pilsen upon his invitation and spend two weeks renovating the desolate 1930´s swimming pool, receiving help from a group of volunteers from around the world as well as several locals. Those passing by pause for an ice-cold beer served by Vaclav on the riverbank. We drink it too; eat vegan delicacies for lunch and sausages for dinner. Step by step, the beauties of the old public pool are revealed underneath a rich vegetation coat. Locals and those who remember by-gone times begin to mingle with one another and the whole place slowly comes to life. Whoever comes does not feel like leaving. Neither do we. We work on a pier to provide a port for small boats and an easy access to the river. This would be the place to perform theater plays and concerts too. We are introducing two big bench swings to the riverbank and the children love it. Together we manufacture small tables, chairs, benches and folding beds…The nearby garage is turned into a bar, café and a facility base. We build everything by ourselves and sleep in the middle of the construction site in our caravan. Due to the fact that we never leave the site, we slowly become co-organizers of cultural events around here. It has remained a vivid place until today, hosting one event after another. It is a marvelous spot which grows in popularity and has become an inseparable part of Pilsen´s alternative scene.
14 days, 10 workcampers from 9 countries, 8 custom tables, 33 chairs, 14 easy chairs, 7 benches, 2 big swings, 7832 screws, mine 1 boat, 2 paddles, 403 transfered persons, 14 dogs, 19 bicycles, 10 prams, 3 scooters, 2 babyscooters, 196 322 kJ, 23 eaten sausages, average temperature 22,63 ˚C, everything under guidance of 1 Kate and 1 Adam and in 9 months +1 Milada. It was a great summer, it was community, it is sustainable and we delegated well. And come visit us at Plovarna, it is worth it!
Václav Cinádr – ferryman
Swimming pool without MAK! would be the same as Radbuza (the local river) without water. Similarly to the outline of the previous pool restaurant or the curves of the stone stairway cascading down to the riverbank, the creations of Adam and Katka, too, have become an inseparable part of tales and memoirs of the venue. It is here, at their small tables, that foreign volunteers used to share stories, , those who remember by-gone times recalled the golden age and those passing by paused for a cup of coffee. When resting on the benches and sofas of the public pool area, the locals of Pilsen used to enjoy sausage grilling and reading of the book called „Swimming home“. The children’s beer garden or rather lemonade tables have witnessed Ludo tournaments and carried the weight of numerous toys during the flea market. Young visitors have tested the swings and slides a thousand times, competing who flies further out from the riverbank terraces. By sunset, the scene was left to loving couples. When the romantic atmosphere unfolds, visitors find shelter on terraces under the lime trees, where fellow architects helped MAK! with the finishing touches. An Italian psychedelic-folk band,
as well as a number of Czech musicians have performed on a stage, which can be transformed into a dance floor. It had its moments of glory during the summer swing party. It is the amphibious pier, however, that takes pride in having the most diverse story. It has served both on land and water – as a concert and theater stage, as well as a boat rental. During hot summer days, it hosted beautiful ladies and handsome men for a suntan, warm starry nights offered haven for friendly and romantic meetings. February saw sessions of cold water swimming and hardening. It has proven to work as a nursery too. To add the icing on the cake, the public pool was decorated by a cable car which connects both banks of the river Radbuza. Quite a few visitors, children or grownups, have shivered with insecurity when throwing themselves above the water, finding reassurance in nothing but their own strength. The public pool would not have become what it is today without the contribution of a number of individuals and organizations – ranging from the authors of the idea of revitalization, the Majak Plzen society (Pilsen Lighthouse), to Pestujprostor(Cultivate your space) which is in charge of the construction works, to local volunteers and Prague´s architecture students. Neither would we have organized community dinners and released canoes into the river stream without the friendly help of the neighboring Center for drug prevention and treatment. It was MAK!, though, that provided ideas for the unique atmosphere and style of this quaint site. We know that MAK!, too, experienced some unforgettable moments here. Where else could have Katka with Adam (and Ludvík) been able to camp right at the construction site, have everyday barbecues and go for midnight swims in the river? What other time did they get the opportunity to teach volunteers from abroad how to work with a hammer or a saw and be woken up by the subtle sound of patient knocking on their door? The memories from the Pool have been carved into the story of their family life once and for all when they baptized their newborn daughter Milada-Radbuza here.
Silvie Hašlová, Marek Sivák – Pěstuj prostor, z. s., Foster the City