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Canal Swimmer’s Club

Canal Swimmer’s Club is a public space on the water that has been built in the scope of the 2015 Bruges Triennale for contemporary art and architecture. The concept of that year was to think about the following challenge “What if five million tourists visiting Bruges decided to stay? What if a historic city should suddenly become a metropolis?”
Inspiration for the project came from the recent improvement of water quality in the city. After 40 years, in 2015 canal was again open for swimming. Atelier Bow-Wow together with local architects Architectuuratelier Dertien12 perceives that as an opportunity to create a new public space for the tourist city center. The Canal Swimmer’s Club not only introduces an attractive, multifunctional floating public area but also notifies citizens that “water is clean and safe again!” and “it is open for swimming!”

The platform offers opportunities for various social activities. Besides swimming, relaxing and sunbathing the platform can also host exhibitions, lectures or events. In that way, it copes with a dynamic life of a busy neighbourhood.

The “Carmersbrug” divides the public space into two areas, one platform is an access point for swimmers while the other serves mainly for tourist boats. These two sides are connected with the path in between and to the street with a bridge, stairs and an accessible ramp. 
The galvanized steel structure that is suitable for disassembling is placed on rented pontoons. The pergola covering more than half of the platform is made of Z-shaped louvres. That design controls wind movement and wind loads and collects rainwater that flows to the canal. Recycled wood planks used for scaffolding serve as the floor finishing. A steel wire is used as a transparent barrier. To inform citizens about the water quality flag system is introduced. 
pictures: Filip Dujardin, Stef Declerck en Ellen De Meulemeester

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