Aarhus Harbor Bath by BIG: A Floating Seawater Structure for Swimmers

A massive floating plaza juts out of the harbor in Aarhus, Denmark, creating a protected area for bathers to swim and lounge in the sun. The Aarhus Harbor Bath by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) can accommodate up to 650 people at a time and features a diving pool, a shallow children’s pool, two saunas and a 164-foot lap pool. Open only during the summer, the platform is part of a larger effort to revitalize the city’s harbor coastline.

“This weekend, we celebrated the official opening of Aarhus Harbor Bath with BIG Partner Finn Nørkjær, Mayor of Aarhus Municipality Jacob Bundsgaard, Vice Chairman of Salling Fondene Karin Salling and Councilor of Aarhus Municipality Rabih Azad-Ahmad!” says BIG. “Springboard divers from AGF Udspring took the first plunge off the promenade that rises from the quayside and continues out over the water.”

The bath is five years in the making, offering a “unique oasis” in what used to be an industrial area in Denmark’s second-largest city. BIG is working with Copenhagen-based urban planning group Gehl on a larger framework for the harbor, which will eventually include a beach zone, volleyball courts, cafes and restaurants, a theater, a hotel, shops and supermarkets.

BIG previously completed the Copenhagen Harbor Bath in 2009, a significantly smaller floating platform extending an adjacent park over the water with pools and an urban landscape of cliffs, playgrounds, piers, dry docks and boat ramps.