Co.Design

A Floating Oasis In The Middle Of A Once-Polluted River

Architects Andrea Kubna and Ondrej Lipensky aim to turn the once heavily polluted Vltava river into a wading pool.

After years of contamination at the hands of heavy industry, the Vltava, the longest river in the Czech Republic, is experiencing something of a rebirth. The waterfront has become prized real estate, and the river is regaining its cultural cache. One pair of Prague architects, Ondrej Lipensky and Andrea Kubna, even proposes to restore it to the watering hole it was before the industrial revolution. Their plan: To build a floating oasis replete with a river pool lined with lounge chairs and cabins.

Since the river isn’t pollution-free, the designers would filter the water with a textile membrane at the bottom of the pool. "The water is in a better state than it used to be, but it is still not very pleasant to swim in, especially in the center," Andrea Kubna tells Co.Design. A smaller, shallower pool for children would be stationed off the side of the main, 9,000-square-foot pool. Other services include restrooms, a sauna, a steam room, a bar, public lavatories, and showers.

In the winter, the pool would be transformed into a skating rink. "According to witnesses, the river was frozen last in 1956, when the temperature dropped to -26°C," Kubna and Lipensky write in their project statement. To restore the tradition, the designers suggest covering the large pool with wood and allowing a thin layer of water to freeze over the top. The sauna and cloakrooms would remain open, as well as the bar. Let’s hope a floating ambulance will be standing by.

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