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Faaborg Harbour Bath

With the opening of the Harbour Bath, the inner-city waterfront of Faaborg has opened for bathing, recreation and public activity. This new public space on the water adds a new dimension of re-creational activity to the beautiful South Funen Archipelago. Maximising the interface between land and sea, the projects becomes the new point of interaction between people and water right in the city center.

The harbour bath is designed to tie a closer link between the city and the sea. Three thematic piers give room for everyone: toddlers, children and young people can go wild, while others relax and enjoy the view ofFaaborg Fjord. The “finger plan” with open basins between the three piers, offers multiple ways to approach the water. The wooden piers form ramps, stairs, sitting opportunities and small pools for children.

Just like in plan, the project is also playing with the interface between land and see in the third dimension: The citizens and visitors of Faaborg can explore the waterfront from different levels and enjoy its’ amazing views. The visitors can get close to the water, stick their feet in or have a swim, or they can get five meters up, as if they were sailing on a boat.

The project is carefully designed to integrate itself into the context. Positioned at the intersection of the existing promenades along the canal and along the water-front, the project naturally becomes a crosspoint for public activity. The geometry of the Harbour Bath follows and extends the logic and the lines of its contextual condition. In the third dimension the project also respectfully integrates itself into its context, staging the beautifully silhouette of the city of Faaborg. 

The architects’ intention was not to over-program the project in advance, but to also create a frame for an unknown content, a place for public life to unfold and the unexpected to happen. In other words a place that people can approach, adapt and inhabit in their own ways.
As the photographs show, the Harbour Bath is a great success within the local community and is used by a wide spectrum of users, both for sports and recreation. In terms of its construction and materiality, the project is inspired by known robust harbour materials like steel and planks from local oak tree. The light and elegant stainless steel guard railing integrates the lighting and relates to the detailing of sailing boats.

Another topic in terms of the materiality is transparency: The facade materials and the wooden deck are partly transparent and partly translucent, creating a play of light and inviting for new discoveries.

The project is designed and built according to the Cradle to Cradle building philosophy. The used materials are defined in Cradle to Cradle terms of chemical contents, effects on air, soil and water, and effects on human health from manufacturing through use and recovery in biological or technical pathways. The project has been designed and built with the help of Building Information Modeling (BIM) which has improved the quality of the building systems, products and processes as well as the total material consumptions. All components are recyclable and the project can be disassembled and re-used to a large extent. 


In order to closely link the project to the local community, the architects, during the development of the project, have had a close collaboration with local users and sports clubs. In several workshop sessions, the needs and wishes have been defined and mapped. This process has led to a high level of functionality, usability and acceptance by users and operators. In this way the community has early taken ownership of the project, resulting in a high level of user responsibility during the operation of the building. 
 
The Harbour Bath has become much more than just a harbour bath, it is new public water-space that facilitates activity and attracts locals as well as visitors to swim and enjoy water sports or just experience Faaborg’s fantastic waterfront.

Entrant office name: Urban-Agency
Website: www.urban-agency.com
Other design firms involved: JDS, KLAR, Creo Arkitekter, Sloth-Møller 

Project location: Faaborg, Denmark
Design year: 2013
Year Built: 2014

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