Flussbad is an exciting project from Realities:United to regenerate the old canal in the city center of Berlin into a clean, multi-recreational swimming pool. Designed by Berlin-based firm Realities:United, the regenerative swimming pool is the Bronze winner of the 2012 Global Holcim Awards. The historic and touristy part of the city is surrounded by the Spree River and a canal, and a regeneration of this lower portion could increase tourism to the area and clean the water. A reed bed on the upper portion would work to filter the water, and the later part would be transformed into a 745 meter long swimming pool, which would be the longest pool in the world, equivalent to seventeen Olympic swimming pools!
The Spree River splits in two in the heart of Berlin and flows around the touristy museum island. A movement is underway to transform the unused canal into a multi-recreational tourist attraction for water sports and leisure activities. After the Berlin Wall came down, there was a huge influx of residents and open space has decreased significantly. This new pool would provide space for leisure and recreation with an even greater bonus of cleaning up the city’s water through natural methods.
The beginning portion of the canal would be filled with reed beds and subsurface sand bed filters. After 780 meters of filtration, the water would be sufficiently clean for people to be in it, and the sides of the canal would be converted into stairs to provide access to the water. Incoming drainages would be diverted to the river to maintain the water quality of the pool. Bridges, landings, and decks would offer space to relax and watch the activity. The new pool would be 745 meters long, with specific areas cordoned off for laps, free swim, and even boating. Next to the pool, a new locker and shower facility would be built to support the water activities.
Head of the jury, Enrique Norten of TEN Arquitectos notes, “We selected a project in Berlin, which is one of the very important European captains. It is very beautiful city and its a project that celebrates the life of the urban condition of the city, but also celebrates the relationships with the water.” Realities:United will receive USD 50,000 for their award and expect to begin construction in 2018.
Photos ©Holcim Foundation/Realities:United