As of today, the citizens of Antwerp are beating the summer heat with the largest floating open-air pool in the world. This privately owned community pool took only a year to go from concept to official opening – a remarkably small window for a 120-metre-long barge that accommodates 600 people and also boasts a restaurant with a lounge terrace and two event halls.
Located downtown, at the elbow of the Scheldt river, Badboot (whose name comes from the Dutch for “swimming boat”) was designed by local architect Peter Peerlings of Sculp(it). Peerlings set the surface of the swimming pool only 70 centimetres above the water level, creating the sensation of taking a dip in the river. The boat’s terrace and interior spaces are white, set off by accents of navy and red, with wood to emphasize the nautical feel.
Much was done to minimize the project’s environmental impact. LEDs by Modular Lighting are used throughout, cutting electricity use by up to 85 per cent over halogens. The pool showers use Hansgrohe’s EcoSmart system that reduces water consumption by up to 60 per cent. This greywater, along with the water used by the toilets and in the kitchen, is aerated and filtered through a living reed bed developed in partnership with Minnesota-based Naturally Wallace. This feature – unique to Europe – not only purifies greywater, but also acts as a beautifying design element, lit for maximum effect.
The pool is open to the public for the remainder of the summer – and once the snow flies in winter, it will be converted into a skating rink, ensuring year-round use.