Design for Innovation


Interview with Bob Wandel

“We didn’t have any work when the recreation director, Mel Dodge, called us to his office,” Bob Wandel told me. “We sat down and he said ‘You guys are swimming pool experts, right? Say yes.’ So, we said yes.” Wandel & Schnell, Architects were asked to design a swimming pool. This swimming pool was going to be created with the community in mind, so a community committee was established. This project was the first where they had to work with a community action committee. It was comprised of a number of very important players in Columbus.

“See, the way we operated was that we divided projects up. Tom was in charge of one. I was in charge of another. We decided we could work on individual projects,” Bob explained the system to me. “We’d make our own decisions regarding our own projects and could take the other’s opinion into consideration, but we certainly didn’t have to. Somehow I ended up on this one.” It was decided that this pool was going to be designed for small, young families. There was no diving board. It was all shallow water. There were spray pools for the young kids to frolic. It was handicap accessible in that there was a ramp that went into the pool. It was a project where non-conventional materials were explored. They made grooves out of corrugated plastic to keep the rain out of the buildings (the bathhouse and pump house), but at the same time it allowed the light to come in. “Say it was translucent,” he instructed.

The pool was built in the Olentangy Flood Plain, so there was a need to develop the area around the walls of the pool to even get inside. Instead of standardizing the site and filling in any ditches or trenches, they decided to take the natural, urban approach. They bridged over any potential problem areas to create walkways. The natural landscape was preserved and emphasized with concepts of circulation. “You can go see it. Need directions?” Bob started giving me directions before I had a chance to answer.

1976 Pop Culture Facts

Happy 200, America! Jobs and Woz gave us the gift of Apple to celebrate the big 200 and we love(d) it. If you were watching television in ’76, you were probably either watching Son of Sam terrorize NYC on the news or feeling all empowered with an episode of Laverne & Shirley because, honestly, they were doing it their way. You could have also popped in a VHS if neither option sounded appealing. In other news, Columbus’ Union Station was demolished, but you can find one of the original, ornate arches perching in McPherson Park.

The realest and most important event of all occurred on October 15 in Galesburg, Illinois: The songbirds sang, the sun shined brighter, the grass was greener, and Todd Boyer was born. “Just don’t ask me for any pictures from middle school. I wish somebody would have told me to just… stop.” – Todd