Copenhagen Harbor Bath Indulges Your Inner Pirate

Aerial View of the Copenhagen Harbor Bath

Image: JDSA

If you were going to design a swimming pool, how would you do it? Would you just make a big rectangle with a deep end and a shallow end? C’mon, you can do a lot better than that. I think if I were going to do it, I’d pull out all the stops and design something that really appealed to the kid in me: an enormous outdoor swimming pool shaped like a sinking ship.

Of course, if I did that, I’d just be stealing that idea from Copenhagen’s Harbor Bath.

I’m going to come right out and be honest with you: I really love this design. An enormous wooden prow-shaped structure juts up out of the water, as if a great pirate ship had struck land and sunk on its way to pillage Copenhagen. What I love most about it is that it’s completely unnecessary to the rest of the swimming area. They added it because it looks awesome and to give kids a high diving platform. I can imagine most kids give a hearty “yarrrr” on the way down, or at least whatever the Danish equivalent of “yarrrr” is — probably some mishmash of umlauts that I can’t pronounce.

Copenhagen Harbor Bath Ship Prow

Image: JDSA

The rest of the structure focuses a bit more on utility rather than style. A dock-like area sections off the swimming area from the river, and it even has a small little kiddie pool. Unlike most other outdoor riverside pools, however, the Harbor Bath does not have its own supply of sterile water. Rather, it just uses the river water. It’s a bit surprising to see this type of design, as most people aren’t willing to go swimming in bodies of water that are near cities.

The Copenhagen Harbor Bath

Image: JDSA

Still, swimming there shouldn’t be terribly life-threatening. They close down the bath when conditions make the water particularly unclean, and they report the water cleanliness on their official website.

And for those of you who aren’t quite so attuned to architecture, I have to point out one feature that’s absolutely amazing. You’d think that the ship-like protrusion would create a blind spot from the lifeguard post, but it actually doesn’t obstruct vision at all. Both sides of the prow point directly at the lifeguard booth, giving anybody sitting atop it a full panoramic view of every square foot of water on the pool. Positively brilliant.

Kids Jumping into the Water at the Harbor Bath

Image: JDSA

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