The jury appreciated the poetic metamorphosis of a rather undefined public space in the historic city center of Berlin into an activated urban landscape. The project will transform the Kupfergraben Canal, an underutilized arm of the River Spree, into a natural, self-cleaning body of water. Along this 750-meter stretch by the Museum Island, people will be able to walk, bike, swim, or just relax.
The Flussbad is more than just a big swimming pool. It proposes a playful amenity on a site that is culturally and politically loaded. The existing conglomeration of museums will be enriched with this simple but atmospheric gesture that provides a public urban recreational space both for residents and tourists.
The strength of this project is that it rightfully questions the ownership of the river, which is today exclusively used for shipping and drainage, and never for public activities. The architects have proposed necessary changes in the waste water system along this reach of the river as well as the creation of an ancillary bypass canal and a filter basin of plants in the upper segment of the canal. In combination, these changes will improve the water quality of this part of the Spree to meet the standards necessary for swimming.
In addition to its ecological and public benefits, the jury also appreciated its symbolic power. It sets a strong example for sustainable water use, wastewater management, and how these issues can be coupled with the continued urban development of the UNESCO World Heritage listed historic center of Berlin. The Flussbad will have a direct and strong impact on the quality of urban life and will make a positive ecological contribution through the remediation of the city’s waterways.
The jury commended this project because it is a convincing example of what could be achieved with challenging densely built inner city areas having a rich tradition and a stock of important heritage buildings, but where the needs of the public have been neglected over decades. The result will be a comprehensive recapture of a large waterway and its riparian fringe by the citizens, one of the most important attempts towards sustainable urban life.See more
An urban plan by Jan and Tim Edler of realities:united to transform an under-utilized stretch of the River Spree in Berlin into a 745m-long natural “swimming pool” was presented with the Global Holcim Awards Bronze 2012. The handover of the prize including USD 50,000 was held at the Internationale Bauakademie in Berlin. Amongst the speakers were renowned Swiss architect, Mario Botta; Senate Building Director of the City of Berlin, Regula Lüscher; and Chairman of Holcim Ltd, Rolf Soiron.
In the regional phase of the third Holcim Awards, the Flussbad “Urban renewal and swimming-pool precinct” received the top prize for Europe and thereby qualified for the global competition. The project in the heart of the historic city of Berlin provides a public urban recreation space for both residents and tourists and features a 1.8 hectare reed bed natural reserve with sub-surface sand bed filters to purify the water.
In the global phase of the competition, an independent jury chaired by Mexican architect Enrique Norten again selected the Flussbad project to win a prize. The jury was impressed with the concept to reinvigorate an under-utilized arm of the River Spree: “The project creates a direct and strong impact on the quality of urban life and positive ecological contribution through remediation of the city’s waterways”, Norten said.
With the concept to enhance and diversify the use of the river, the project is not only to create a large swimming pool, but also a playful recreational facility for residents and visitors. “The project is a poetic metamorphosis of a hardly defined public space in the culturally- and historically-charged center of Berlin”, praised architect Mario Botta, a member of the global Holcim Awards jury officiating at the prize hand-over.
Chairman of the Holcim Foundation and Chairman of Holcim Ltd, Rolf Soiron, congratulated the prize winning team, and emphasized the importance of sustainable construction for society – both today and tomorrow. “In addition to a greater focus on improving sustainability performance in the built environment, there must also be room for unconventional ideas, such as the Flussbad,” he said.See more
A remarkable number of projects by German authors including the Flussbad project were prize-winners in the third International Holcim Awards competition. As a result, a six-week exhibition, “MACHEN! The German winners of the Holcim Awards 2011/12” was held at the Aedes Architekturforum in Berlin. The exhibition attracted some 5,000 visitors – and also included three panel discussions by the prize-winning project teams on the themes of (re)building the city to allow the coexistence of different lifestyles; using the entire spectrum of materials; as well as rediscovering and modernizing traditional architectural techniques.
Savoir Vivre: How to use the city for (re) building so that it allows for different lifestyles, was the opening discussion in the series and featured Matthias Sauerbruch of Sauerbruch Hutton (Holcim Awards Acknowledgement 2011 prize winner) as well as the Flussbad project’s Jan Edler and Tim Edler of realities:united.Read more »
An urban plan for transforming an under-utilized arm of the River Spree in Berlin into a natural 745m-long “swimming pool” won the Global Holcim Awards Bronze 2012. The Flussbad project in the heart of the historic city creates a swimming zone equivalent to 17 Olympic-sized pools, and provides a public urban recreation space for both residents and tourists adjacent to the Museuminsel and was developed by a team led by architects Jan and Tim Edler of realities united, Germany.
Enrique Norten explained that the project creates a direct and strong impact on the quality of urban life and positive ecological contribution through remediation of the city’s waterways. “The project celebrates urban living in one of the world’s greatest cities, and also honors the city’s connection to its waterways,” he said.Read full media release – Global Holcim Awards 2012 » leia mais : Projeto de revitalização de favela no Brasil recebe prêmio em construção sustentável (Portuguese) » más información: Los premios máximos de la construcción sustentable fueron entregados a propuestas en Burkina Faso, Brasil y Alemania (Spanish) » pour en savoir plus : Des projets au Burkina Faso, au Brésil et en Allemagne remportent les premiers prix dans la construction durable (French) »
The projects that received Holcim Awards Gold, Silver, or Bronze in each of the five regions of the world were automatically qualified to compete for the Global Holcim Awards 2012. The more extensive submission on the Urban renewal and swimming-pool precinct for the global phase of the competition can be found here:
The jury commended this project due to its direct and very strong impact on the quality of urban life in an area of Berlin which has been previously overlooked. The project questions the ownership of the river itself that is currently used exclusively for shipping and drainage purposes but not for public activities. The idea of providing a public facility is convincing, feasible and easily transferable.
It is complemented with an ecological concept that supplies unpolluted water and with a simple design that adapts respectfully to the historic context of the adjacent buildings. It is an excellent example of what could be achieved within challenging inner city areas that possess a rich tradition and cultural heritage where the local public has been overlooked.See more
An urban plan which transforms an under-utilized arm of the River Spree in Berlin into a natural 745m-long “swimming pool” won the top prize of USD 100,000. The winners of the 3rd International Holcim Awards competition for sustainable construction projects and visions from across Europe were announced at a ceremony in Milan. A total of USD 300,000 was presented to ten outstanding projects submitted by architects, planners, engineers and project owners. The winning projects show the wide range of approaches in the region to sustainable construction that respond both to intensified urbanization and innovation in building materials and construction techniques.Read full media release – Holcim Awards 2011 for Europe » per saperne di piú : Annuncio a Milano dei vincitori degli Holcim Awards per l'Europa (Italian) »
The Flussbad project is located in the center of Berlin and transforms an unused arm of the River Spree into a natural 745m “swimming pool”. The facility is the equivalent of seventeen Olympic swimming pools with an average width of 28.8m, water depth around 2.2m, and features a 780m-long reed bed filtration system. The renewal concept for the 3.9ha site is as invigorating and hypothetical as it is realistic and simple in design. Parts of the Lustgarten Quay wall are converted into generous stairs providing access to the swimming pool, with functional lockers and change rooms integrated unobtrusively into the terrain.
Water entering the upper section of the river arm is purified through a 1.8ha reed bed natural reserve with sub-surface sand bed filters. A barrage at the lower end of the system prevents the backflow of unfiltered water from the main body of the river, and overflow outlets for city’s mixed sewage network are channeled beneath the system.
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the precinct has experienced a 75% increase in resident population and parallel loss of vacant space. The Flussbad right in the heart of Berlin’s historic city center on an unused river arm provides a public urban recreation space for both, residents and tourists adjacent to the UNESCO World Heritage site, Museuminsel (Museum Island).See more Download project entry poster (PDF, 2.64 MB) »