Expanding on a tradition of Triennals for contemporary Belgian art in 1968, 1971 and 1974, the city of Bruges decided to organize and start again a Triennale for contemporary art and architecture in 2015. The theme was a challenging question ‘what if the medieval ‘egg’ of Bruges, were suddenly transformed into a metropolis? – What if the 5 million tourists, that visit every year the city of Bruges, all decided to stay ?’
The collaborating team of Atelier Bow-Wow & Architectuuratelier Dertien12 were asked to work on this idea. They worked together on the project Canal Swimmer’s Club, a temporary appropriation of public space in the city, a new type of architecture made from the relationship between different behaviors, which already existed in the city. The site is divided into two areas by the “Carmersbrug”. One side provides a main access point for swimmers, on the other side tourist boats pass by on a regular basis and swimming is prohibited. Two platforms are placed on each side, connected by a path running under the “Carmersbrug”. The platform is designed to be reassembled for every future summer. They chose a galvanized steel structure that can be quickly assembled and disassembled. The structure is placed on rented pontoons typically used by military. 60% of the platform is covered by a pergola, the louvers allow the wind to pass through, reducing the wind loads. Rainwater is collected by the lower lip of the pergola and drained directly into the canal. The floor is made of recycled wood planks typically used for scaffolding. A steel wire net safely encloses the sides of the ramps, stair and bridge by keeping a visual connection from the street. They also introduced a flag system used for beaches to visually mark the current swimming condition and possibly give a public feedback on the water quality.
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Images © Filip Dujardin, Jan Darthet, Stef Declerck