400 Foot Long Badboot Floating Pool in Antwerp Is A Flash From The Past

Constructivists swimming to America© Rem Koolhaas

In 1977, Historian and architect Rem Koolhaas wrote The Story of the Pool.

Moscow, 1923

At school one day, a student designed a floating swimming pool. Nobody remembered who it was. The idea had been in the air….The floating pool- an enclave of purity in contaminated surroundings, seemed a first step, modest yet radical, in a gradual program of improving the world through architecture.

In Rem's story, the Russian Constructivists put this pool to use.

One day they discovered that if they swam in unison- in regular synchronized laps from one end of the pool to the other- the pool would begin to move slowly in the opposite direction. They were amazed by this involuntary locomotion; actually, it was explained by the simple laws of physics: action = reaction.

The contructivists used this pool in a dramatic escape to New York. Well, not so dramatic; they swam for forty years. And now, after all these years, it appears that another incarnation of the pool will float again: in Antwerp.

According to a submission to Bustler,

The pool, with a total length of 120 meters (394 feet), can accommodate 600 people and consists of a swim basin, two event venues, several floors and a restaurant with a lounge terrace. 'Badboot' was designed by architect Pieter Peerlings and Silvia Mertens of Sculp(IT) Architecten.

The pool has a number of green features, including:

Reedbed water purification: the Badboot has an on-board reedbed that purifies water – to begin with, this is the first actively ventilated outdoor purification bed on the European continent. But here too, care for the environment goes hand in hand with an attractive appearance: the entire reedbed has been equipped with designer lighting which provides a spectacular panoramic view from the restaurant.

While the interior looks attractive, Rem's description of the Russian Constructivists' sounds more interesting and educational.

Two seemingly endless linear locker rooms formed its long sides- one for men, the other for women. At either end was a glass lobby with two transparent walls; one wall exposed the healthy, sometimes exciting underwater activities in the pool, and the other , fish agonizing in the polluted water. It was thus a truly dialectical room, used for physical exercise, artificial sunbathing and socializing between the almost naked swimmers.

landingsConstructivists land in New York/ Badboot lands in Antwerp/CC BY 2.0

Perhaps Pieter and Sylvia could have learned a few things from Rem. More at Bustler, Pool excerpts transcribed from Delerious New York.

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