IOU Architecture
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Swimming Pools
John Lewis Marshall

IOU BadBuiten

IOU Architecture as Architects

IOU Architecture, in collaboration with Van Der Giesen Architecten, has created BadBuiten, the first floating swimming pool of the Netherlands, which has been completed the 25th of August.

BadBuiten is an island in the river Amstel of approximately 550m2. On the island people can meet each other enjoying a drink, some food or whilst swimming.The island exists of interlocked pontoons of which the biggest pontoon contains a swimming pool (18 by 5 meters).

Architect Roland Pouw: “BadBuiten offers a unique swimming experience for everyone, because swimming in a floating swimming pool in a river, in the middle of the city, can only be done in a few European cities. And now Amsterdam is one of them!”.

Friday the 27th of August this unique project was opened by the Amsterdam city alderwomen Caroline Gehrels and Germaine Princen. The BadBuiten is an initiative of Waternet, Amsterdam’s municipal watere company, and is run by the foundation BadBuiten. GO Marketing is responsible for the idea and the marketing concept. Waternet wants the project to reiterate the necessity of clean surface water and wants her clients to experience swimming in the river Amstel.

The unique location on the Korte Ouderkerkerdijk in the Amstel, where the Amstel is at its widest and below the Manhatten-like skyline of the Rembrandttower and Philipstower, gives the project something special.

Architect Roland Pouw: “Approaching the design of BadBuiten the choice was made for an introvert character with that an eye for the refined detail. Although the building is relatively small the BadBuiten has a striking character. When visiting the pontoons of the BadBuiten you experience the width of the location, the scale of the buildings on the opposite riverside and the maritime atmosphere. The simplicity and reservedness of the design enhances the experience of the qualities its surroundings”.

After Waternet kicked off the project in March of this year the challenge began. Architect Roland Pouw: “We realized the project from initial design to finish in five months. Something others will find hard to emulate and it’s something we’re really proud of. It all seems simple, but if one would know how many investigation and permits the project took, the complexity of the project would be apparent”. A very specific swimming pool had to be designed taking the connection with the river Amstel into account. Not only floating, but also mobile, flexible in size en therefore suitable for different locations.

Points of departure for the project were that it should be a cost-efficient and long-lasting product with a high end value. This way the swimming pool will be a valuable product to sell-off in the future. Energy-efficient designing was also part of the assignment. Architect Roland Pouw: “A outside pool loses a lot of warmth to the open air. To slow this down we’ve found a liquid that float on the water surface as a warmth blanket. This way the heat loss is considerably lower. It keeps the warmth within the pool. Aside from that we use heat pumps to heat the water. Heat pumps are very energy-efficient.”.

Although BadBuiten looks quite straightforward at first sight, many scenario’s realizing it have been looked at. Building a riverboat using a concrete hull is pretty straightforward for a contractor and that goes for building a regular swimming pool to. Combining these two worlds takes a bit more think work and drafting. Strict legislation surrounding running a swimming pool had to be taken in account with all the consequences for design and construction. The biggest challenge was the stability and buoyancy of the pool. The weight of the water is enormous and pool tends to move constantly due to the floating character and when the majority of the visitors all stand on one side the pool the pool could create what’s so dangerous on a boat: a moving cargo.

Badbuiten organizes yearly sport, cultural and social activities around the swimming pool. The importance of clean water in the river Amstel and the canals is the recurring theme in these activities. From next year on, when BadBuiten is open all summer, BadBuiten will present activities around the UN millennium goal: ‘clean drink water for everyone’.

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