Join us for a discussion of Chris Romer-Lee’s Sea Pools: 66 Saltwater Sanctuaries from Around the World (Batsford 2023), in conversation with Robert Hammond and Kara Meyer.
Designed to provide a safe space for swimmers to enjoy the benefits of the seawater, sea pools offer individuals and communities the opportunity to connect with nature, each other, and themselves. A beautiful ode to sea swimming, Sea Pools dives into the topic’s history, architecture, and social significance.
This program will explore the architectural and social significance of sea pools, especially as cities across the world invest in urban wellbeing infrastructure to support the health of their citizens and their economies. The panel will discuss how access to water is key to the health of our communities, especially in New York with +POOL driving free and safe swimming access to the waters around New York City and Therme US striving to bring a reimagined Roman Bath to the city.
About the Speakers:
Robert Hammond, a pioneering urbanist and placemaker, Hammond served for over two decades as Co-Founder and Executive Director of the High Line, where he led the transformation of an abandoned elevated railway line in Manhattan into an iconic urban park. Prior to launching the High Line, Hammond supported the creation of online businesses in the public health and travel commerce industries and served as an ex-officio member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Board of Trustees, as well as Liberty Expedia, a formerly publicly traded travel company. He has been awarded the Vincent Scully Prize, the Rome Prize by the American Academy in Rome, and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Jane Jacobs Medal, along with Joshua David. A graduate of Princeton University and recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from The New School, Hammond is also a Vedic meditation teacher.
Kara Meyer established Friends of + POOL in 2015 and leads the organization. She oversees all organizational programming, the more than fifteen contractors who lead the design and construction of + POOL, additional consultants who advise the project’s development and the more than 100 active volunteer educators, swim instructors, scientists and others supporting the delivery of + POOL’s environmental and swim education programs. Meyer mobilized the local community advocating for public access to our water, produced NYC’s first real-time water quality monitor, successfully solicited city government to release an RFEI for an East River Swim Facility, and is currently driving policy reform to open up safe access to NYC waters. Throughout her career, Meyer has worked with artists, architects, and social designers to realize their visions with a focus on community engagement and participatory design. Prior to joining Friends of + POOL, she led the team that represented the United States at the 14th International Architecture Biennale in Venice, Italy. During her time at Storefront for Art and Architecture and Art in General in New York, she organized funding for artist commissions by Brendan Fernandes, Sebastian Errazuriz, Josh Melnick, Ohad Meromi, and Kambui Olujimi, among many others, and produced limited editions by artists Glenn Ligon, Xaviera Simmons and Emily Roysdon.
Chris Romer-Lee is a born and bred Londoner, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and founder of UK based architecture practice Studio Octopi. He is most often found immersed in water and is an internationally recognized expert in urban swimming, access to water and tidal pools. Whilst bathing in Lake Zurich, Romer-Lee had the idea for re-introducing swimming in the River Thames and Thames Baths was conceived. Studio Octopi’s water-based projects have provided a considerable platform to emphasize the importance of ‘blue’ spaces throughout the world. Recent work has taken him to Australia and Ireland. Romer-Lee has spoken at TEDx KPMG, Centre for London Conference, Somerset House, London Design Festival, Palace of Westminster, Swiss Architecture Museum, Sydney Water’s Urban Plunge Tech Summit and many more. In 2023 Romer-Lee’s first book was published by Batsford. Sea Pools is an ode to sea swimming—looking at the architecture, history and social significance of tidal pools around the world. He is currently researching his next book, on diving boards. Romer-Lee was instrumental in establishing Future Lidos Group a network of pool campaigners championing further investment in outdoor facilities across the UK and Ireland. In 2022, he co-founded London’s first celebration of modernism, London Modern.
Robert Hammond, President and Chief Strategy Officer, Therme US; Co-Founder, The High Line
Kara Meyer, Managing Director, +POOL
Chris Romer-Lee, Author, Sea Pools: 66 Saltwater Sanctuaries from Around the World; Founder, Studio Octopi; Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts
Center for Architecture