Friday, April 26, 2013

Where to refresh in summer? Examples of interesting city decisions

Summer is coming and inhabitants of big cities are brought up against intense and scorching heat. Fountains, parks and gardens became more popular, but city beaches are the most available and favorite places for people relax. You know the citizens of large megalopolises are deprived of that pleasure to swim in clean rivers or lakes because all water bodies are not only in pollution but often completely dangerous for bathing.

In New York City the problem of lack of relax places was and always will be urgent and topical. There are about 80 beaches in the city and every day 100 000 people go there. You can imagine how banks and coasts transform into rubbish heap during one day.
Neptune Foundation project's organizers created an interesting decision of the problem. In 20th century in the Hudson River there were more than twenty floating bathrooms which were located in populous city districts and where people could take bath regularly. Neptune Foundation architects took this idea from the past to create a modern floating swimming pool for citizens. And it was no necessary to build something new: they just re-equipped an old cargo barge.

In 2005 they bought an old 260 meters barge that worked on the Mississippi river early. Works were started in the Bolinger shipyard, New Orleans, and were finished in Brooklin. The new swimming pool can contain 100 000 liters of water that comes through special filters right from the gulf. The electricity system is completely autonomous and doesn't require communications from the city. Simultaneously 175 people can rest here, there are 7 swimming tracks, children' zone, shower, locker rooms, bar. The whole weight of this construction is 1830 tons. All expenses are $ 4 000 000.

On the opening ceremony this poll was called Floating Pool Lady. More than 50 thousand people visited this place during the first year. In 2008 Neptune Foundation handed over the pool to the New York City administration gratis. The pool is situated on the embankment in Brookline Bridge Park and every winter it returns to the dockyard till the next summer. Organizers want to move the object every summer for all inhabitants of different city district could enjoy bathing and swimming in open air.

City activists around the world realize such bold and extraordinary projects and their main aim is to do territory more attractive for residents and tourists. The problem of lack of bathing and swimming places was decided also in Portuguese city of Guimarães. Fountain Hackers project transformed city fountains into public swimming pools.
Architects and designers wanted to give people a possibility not only to admire the fountains but also to use them, make there places for swimming, rest, sun bathing, washing and even having a dinner. The Fountain Hackers project was created by Like Architects Studio and designer Ricardo Dorado.

Five fountains were remade and every one of them got a name, conception and design. Certainly some of them were re-equipped, for example, stairs and small hills like in swimming pools appeared. Very pretty yellow plank beds appeared in Beach Loung Fountain, where people rest after work. In Barbecue Fountain small tables and umbrellas stay right in water and people can meet each other and have a lunch sitting ankle-deep in fountain. Playroom Fountain are filled of plastic balls from children rooms and you can bath on inflatable mattresses in this colored pool.
The main idea of the project is to remind people that many years ago fountains were used like places for bathing and sources of drinking water but later transformed into decoration items. Like Architects organizers guessed right that their decision will refresh Guimarães life and make city territory more attractive for people rest. 

by Valentin Ivanov

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