Canal Swimmer's Club, Bruges

Canal Swimmer's Club, Brugge, Atelier BOW-WOW en Dertien12, (c) Stef Declerk

The Japanese firm Atelier Bow-Wow in association with the Bruges architectural practice Dertien12 transformed with Canal Swimmer’s Club an intersection of waterways into a floating, multifunctional meeting-point: a place where inhabitants and visitors could relax together or organise events, take a refreshing dip in the canals, attend talks or visit exhibitions. In the Canal Swimmer’s Club, Atelier Bow-Wow not only demonstrated that a temporary intervention in the urban fabric could enhance the cohesion between the urban space and its users (and between the users themselves), but also that it is capable of reactivating spatial qualities that are inherently present but underused. The canals had previously been no more than the subjects of thousands of holiday snaps, and pollution had long since made them unusable for swimmers, but as a result of this intervention they gained a new significance (or regained it after a long interval).

This text is based on an article by Bart Tritsmans, published in Flanders Architectural Review N°12: Tailored Architecture.


Dertien 12
Atelier BOW-WOW







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