LUCERNE (CH) - The swimming pool in the lake at Lucerne has existed since 1885. Inside the wooden structure are two open-air pools and on the roof of the encircling walkway is a sun terrace. In the old days male and female bathers were segregated. The men used the outer pool and had an exit towards the lake, while the women were only allowed to swim in the inner pool. This type of boxed-in swimming pool used to be found in many Swiss towns but only a few have survived to the present day. Lucerne's Seebad, too, was in danger of falling into disrepair but some emergency repairs enabled the building to continue operating for another three years. That time was used for re-planning. The point at issue was whether to demolish and build a new pool from scratch or to renovate and preserve those parts worth keeping. The latter option was chosen and the subsequent competition was won by Lucerne architects Bosshard & Luchsinger with a 'critical reconstruction' of the Seebad.
In terms of volume and layout, with the changing cubicles arranged around the pools, the Seebad remains the same. Only the refreshment area was made more spacious. Wherever possible, the architects re-used the original wooden elements, such as the changing cubicles, doors and panelling. The piles, the steel and timber load-bearing framework, as well as the flooring and the facade are all new, however. Unlike earlier reconstructions of this Seebad, Christoph Luchsinger and Max Bosshard's design dispenses with flourishes of any kind. The facade is obviously composed of vertical subdivisions: between the posts, the vertical lathwork casing in larch wood leaves room for a strip of windows at the top. Only near the water is the casing horizontal and made of oak, allowing individual boards to be replaced as needed.
The refurbishment took place during the coldest part of the year so that, nine months later, the pool could be reopened in time for the start of the outdoor swimming season. (Anne Isopp)