While students at Berlin’s Free University are studying hard inside Foster’s glowing domed library, the more leisurly-minded of their fellow citizens might be enjoying another of the City’s radiant new architectural attractions– the Winter Badeschiff on the Spree River.

The eye-catching swimming pool and saunas anchored off the banks of the river in East Berlin are a project conceived by local artist, Susanne Lorenz, to enliven city life along the river neglected river.

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Created from a converted cargo ship, the year-old Badeschiff first opened in the summer of 2004 as a multidisciplinary art project organized by the Stadtkustprojekte (City Art Project Society) of Berlin. The sunken hull of the transformed vessel now offers a pristine 8 x 32 meter pool. Resting almost level with the Spree’s surface the design gives one the sensation of swimming in the river itself with the city skyline as a dramatic backdrop.

An open-air recreational complex in the warm months, the curving translucent shelter and saunas were added just last December, under the direction of architect Gil Wilk, making the Badeschiff suitable for winter use. Its open until 12 midnight everyday and an adjoining bar, boasting a sandy floor, completes the winter oasis.