What is it about floating swimming pools? They’re just popping up everywhere all of a sudden. It looks like Antwerp is going to be joining the ranks of metropolises with floating public swimming pools this summer, as one of the world’s largest floating pools will be docking during there during the next decade or so.
Alright, alright, so I cover this topic a lot. Is this next one even worth mentioning? I would definitely say so, because this pool, Badboot, blows most similar pools out of the water. To start off, the main swimming area tops off at an impressive 120 meter length, allowing it to be divided into an Olympic-sized lap pool, a children’s pool, and a general pool for casual swimmers.
Of course, in this day and age you can’t just plop a floating swimming pool in the middle of a river and expect people to be impressed. You have to pull out all of the stops if you want to make it stand out from the competition. Badboot’s got everything you could possibly want to throw a killer summer party — it’s got a restaurant and bar, an event space, and several lounge areas.
Probably the coolest feature is Badboot’s water purification system. Rather than running the river water through pipes and tubes and then dumping a bunch of chlorine into the water, Badboot holds a swampy reed garden that filters out all of the water’s impurities. This makes it Europe’s only ventilated outdoor purification bed, and as an added bonus it actually makes the whole structure look nicer. If you didn’t know that it was purifying water, you’d probably guess that it was just a garden that they added to give it a more natural aesthetic appeal.
The need for Badboot was long over due. With only two outdoor swimming pools, Antwerp was woefully unequipped to accommodate the growing demand for clean swimming areas during summer seasons. Well, the city listened to its people and held a contest to see who would get to scoop out the iron guts of the old boat and transform it into a modern swimming pool, and the design group Sculpt(IT) took the cake. They joined with V-Zit to build this floating marvel, and they’re already more than halfway done. They expect to finish up in the next few months.
You know, I’ve covered quite a few of these floating pools, and one question has always been floating around in the back of my mind: what on Earth do they do with these pools during the winter? Every pool I’ve looked at has breezily ignored that issue — until now. Once snow flakes start to fall, Badboot will be transformed from a swimming pool into a floating ice rink. Brilliant! Suddenly, I’ve found a new favorite piece of aquatic architecture.
A few Valentines ago I went ice skating with my girlfriend, and it was one of the most romantic dates I’ve ever been on. The ice rink was outside and sort of tucked away in one of Pittsburgh’s parks, so there wasn’t much of a view. I can’t imagine how beautiful it would be to skate with your loved one on a floating ferry as the lights of a Belgian metropolis sparkle on the evening water. I’m not very sentimental and lovey-dovey, but that idea makes me sigh like a love-struck teenager.