The City Aquatic
Eco-conscious urban design goes for a swim
Life / 19 Aug 2011
City dwellers, many of whom border un-swimmable rivers and lakes, tend to have a heightened appreciation for bodies of water. This summer they’ve made an urban beach a trendsetter destination and are finding excuses to lodge on boats. Now, architects are offering up designs that make use of polluted city waters and, in the case of one exceptional city, cheerfully preparing for a soggy apocalypse.
+ Pool
: Launched last June, the + Pool initiative has been garnering funds via Kickstarter to build a colossal floating pool off of Manhattan’s riverside. The proposed structure—actually four pools pieced together into a plus sign—will act as its own filtration system, which the designers describe as a “giant strainer” that will leave only safe water. Its walls will filter out undesirables such as debris, oil, sediments, and bacteria, allowing New Yorkers to interact at last with the water that surrounds them. The project surpassed its first fundraising goal and is currently in technical test mode. But this summer isn’t a total wash, thanks to The Floating Pool Lady in the Bronx.
Baignade Autorisée
: French architecture firms 2:pm Architectures Collectives and Dauphins recently released plans for a swimming pool that will be able to either float along the Garonne River in Bordeaux or dock at shore as a sort of portable swim-park. The project (which translates to Authorized Swim) hinges on eco-conscious design. A repurposed barge will house the large 8-foot-deep pool (as well as a smaller kiddie pool), moveable storage containers will serve as reception areas and locker rooms (not the first time we’ve seen a clever use of storage bins), and the vessel itself will filter water from the Garonne as it sails, simultaneously filling its pools with chemical-free H2O and conserving energy.
Venice CityVision
: Charged with developing a “visionary urban proposal” that would stimulate and support the city of Venice, Italian architecture firm bam! won a recent design competition with a rather romantic depiction of Venice’s future. The design collective, determined to tackle the floating city’s watery fate, proposed a string of semi-submerged structures which would float alongside the city and take the place of lost land. This strategy is not likely to be realized anytime soon, but it’s been applauded for its provocative (and optimistic) assertion that Venice should start to work with, not against, the rising waters. As it stands, it seems a vast improvement over previous visions of our waterlogged future.
©The Intelligence Group