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.

Badboot at dock© Sculp(IT) Architecten

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.

badboot at dock© 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.

Badboot interior© Sculp(IT) Architecten

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.

Tags: Architects | Belgium | Design Competitions | New York City


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