THEY are the shoreline seawater lagoons, which some believe could yet help revive interest in outdoor bathing in Scotland.

Before heated and indoor swimming pools appeared, many learned how to swim in dozens of Scotland's tidal pools - created with the help of man made structures.

But there have been concerns that the once popular shore ponds are disappearing without getting the care and attention that they once had, with many falling into disrepair or disuse. However, community groups across the country have been galvanised of late to save these important Victorian and Edwardian structures.

Now one group of students is hoping to help not just restore one sea pool at one picture-postcard village on the Fife coast - but help turn it into a sustainable tourist attraction.

Stage 1 Architecture students at The Glasgow School of Art are undertaking the project which will see them create proposals for building near the historic Pittenweem tidal pool including a 21st century thermal baths, changing rooms together with a cafe.

READ MORE: Scotland's outdoor pools that you can enjoy this summer

Last year The West Braes Project in Fife secured the funding needed to carry out the first phase of work on the regeneration of the Pittenweem tidal pool.


1923: An open-air swimming pool set amongst the rocks on the shore of Dunbar, East Lothian.  (Photo by Alfred Hind Robinson/A H Robinson/Getty Images).

The group’s aim is to improve disabled access and create a purpose-built building nearby which could house a heritage centre, toilet and shower facilities, and a community-run cafe.

The project team is hoping that work will start on rejuvenating the pool this spring.

And the Mackintosh School of Architecture at the GSA is challenging its Stage 1 students to create proposals for a sustainable building near the sea pool, the designs for which will be driven by considerations of climate change and accessibility.

READ MORE: Wild swimming becomes Scotland's latest tourism craze

Glasgow students have met The West Braes Project team and learn more about both the history of the pool and the plans for its future.

“A central tenet of the GSA’s approach to architecture teaching and learning is that it is grounded in the practical, live brief,” says Stage 1 Leader Kathy Li. “Students are challenged to bring their creativity to designs that respond to real life scenarios.”

“We are delighted to be working with the team from The West Braes Project in Pittenweem as they undertake the rejuvenation of the historic tidal pool. For our students this offers the chance to learn more about the social history of these coastal structures in general and to create designs that envisage a future for Pittenweem tidal pool, especially one that opens up access for as many people as possible.

“There is no question that the biggest challenge that we face as a planet is climate change. Embedding sustainability into our teaching will ensure future generations of architects for whom environmental concern is central to their practice. In this project the students are being charged with creating designs within the global context of the climate emergency.”


Tarlair outdoor swimming pool in MacDuff, Banffshire from 1950.

The once-popular pool on the village's West Braes had been lying derelict for decades until volunteers set about trying to revive its fortunes.

In its hey day in the 1980s, the pool included a slide and a diving platform.

READ MORE: The tide is turning - bid to bring back Scotland's forgotten sea pools

Bill Watson and Nicola Thomson from the project team said they were "delighted" to be involved in the "exciting and challenging" restoration project in collaboration with the GSA.

“We look forward to their fresh ideas and innovative designs for environmental and sustainability to provide an exciting educational facility and community hub in Pittenweem," they said.

Architecture student Jack Garvin added: “Having grown up spending holidays in Pittenweem and a lot of time in and round the site, this project feels very personal to me,” says Stage 1 Architecture student, Jack Garvin. “I can’t wait to start working on creating a space for the community that I very much feel a part of, in the context of my favourite place in the world.”

Plans are being developed to put the students designs on show in Pittenweem later in the year.