Verena Nelles

Verena Nelles


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Swimming baths, Cologne – Rhine river

Water levels, an architectonic abstraction of the qualities of water, setting in relation to water.

A platform becomes an important structural design tool. It defines two different spatial conditions:
- “under the plate“(indoor pools) an atmosphere of underwater is created, a transparent
- “on top of the plate“(lido) one should get the feeling of being above the water surface
having a long-distance view

The platform itself, an idealistic water-level, a layer inbetween.

Those qualities are strengthened by architectonic means:


Densified pillars - supporting the lido-basins - become a filter, which prepares for bathing. It acts
like a field of algae outlining a certain area in the water.
In addition, the facade generates a ”watery transparency”. Sandblasted stripes of various width
and density create a condensation-like appearance. It gives refractions, interrelations of interior
and exterior.
This layer creates blurred borders. Only the levitating platform above gives the spatial definition.
Its under-surface turns into a 6th facade, reflecting the “above“ and “below“.

Above water

Important for the morphology of this layer is “being on the surface“.
This is why the diving platform appears as a big hole in the building. Divers jump off the roof into
the building.
Stairs to sit on form a groove, which works like a negative railing. Taking big slopes, the user
penetrates the surface . These slopes connect the platforms’ inner and outer part and lead light
down. The bather surfaces and gets a panoramic view all of the city.


The platform creates the space above and the space below. In atmospheric regards this layer only
participates in the other layer`s qualities. Imprints from above and below set up a dialogue
between them.
The building is positioned on the edge between the floodable and the unfloodable level. The
retaining wall encloses the water basins. It becomes a measuring instrument, relating the inside to
the outside water levels.





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