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Bathing Culture in the Industrial Harbour: Jubileumsparken 0.5 in Göteborg

Bathing in a former industrial area – this concept is currently becoming reality in many parts of Europe. In the port of Copenhagen, the PLOT architecture studio (later BIG and JDS Architects) created an open-air swimming pool in 2003. In Basel, where industrial waste from the Sandoz company led to the widespread death of fish in the 1980s, people have been able to swim in the Rhine again for the past few years. Now Sweden’s Göteborg has started a program of reclaiming a one-time harbour zone for public bathing. 

The program centres on the old free harbour (frihamnan), which is to become an integral part of the city with 1,000 apartments and workplaces, a hotel, three primary schools and an elementary school by 2021. Two of the ten hectares will be kept free of buildings and redesigned as Jubilee Park (Jubileumsparken). 

In order to involve local residents in the development process right from the start, the city’s own project development company, Älvstranden Utveckling AB, turned to the raumlaborberlin architectural cooperative. The Berlin office is specialized in dynamic planning processes and an approach they call “activation by use.” As a rule, temporary interventions are planned and realized as a spontaneous process in collaboration with residents.

Kurze Werbepause

A Lofty Sauna

In autumn 2014, raumlaborberlin first called on the citizens of Göteborg to take creative control of the harbour. Under the leitmotiv of bathing culture, the Göteborgers created an entrance hall made of used windows; furthermore, they built a changing and shower area of empty wine bottles. 

At the beginning of 2015, the Berliners repeated their open call. In February, a sauna was inaugurated on a high platform in the harbour’s basin. This lofty structure now serves as a visible symbol of the new open-air swimming area. The exterior of this sculptural, four-legged structure is clad with corrugated sheet metal that has a life of use behind it. The interior consists of thin wooden shingles. 

In the meantime the fourth, biggest yet most reticent cooperative project has been completed: an illuminated floating pool in the harbour basin. However, the plans forged by raumlaborberlin and the city’s residents go further: an old greenhouse is to be moved to a new shoreline location and take on an unusual new hybrid role as a place to raise vegetables and a rest area for the sauna guests. 

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