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Flussbad Berlin – The Project
“Flussbad Berlin” seeks to transform and reactivate the largely unused Spree Canal in Berlin-Mitte along with its adjacent urban areas. The project has a number of different and multilayered objectives; however, its main focus is on revitalising the existing natural and urban resources in the area, cleaning the river in this section and establishing direct public access to the canal. Along Museum Island, between the Humboldt Forum and the Bode Museum, a public space will be created that invites Berliners and visitors alike to swim in clean, uncontaminated water. The project foresees filtering the water in a completely natural way and also transforming the Spree Canal near the Fischerinsel into an ecological water landscape.
The idea for the Flussbad project was developed in 1997 by the artists and architects Jan Edler and Tim Edler (realities:united), who published their concept for the first time in 1998. In 2011, after cultivating their idea even further, the Edler brothers were presented with the “Lafarge Holcim Award Europe”, one of the world’s most important honours in the field of sustainable architecture and urban development. One year later, they received the “Holcim Award” in Bronze on the global level of the competition.
In 2012, motivated by this increased international recognition, “Flussbad Berlin e. V.” was founded, a non-profit association assigned with the task of implementing the project. In 2014/15, the association carried out a technical feasibility study with the help of funds from the LOTTO Foundation Berlin; the findings of the study confirmed the technical viability of the project. Since 2014, Flussbad Berlin has received funding as part of the “National Urban Development Projects” programme operated by Germany’s federal government and the Berlin Senate Department for Urban Development and Housing. In 2016, the government of Berlin made the Flussbad a fixed part of its coalition agreements. In 2017, the German Council for Sustainable Development granted the Flussbad project its “Projekt Nachhaltigkeit 2017” (Project Sustainability 2017) quality label. The year 2017 came to a crowing finish when Berlin’s parliament passed the cross-fractional proposal “Getting the Flussbad flowing” on 30 November 2017. This political mandate represents a major step in the work being done by the Flussbad Association to develop and implement the project in collaboration with a range of authorities.