Rüdiger Schwalm

Rüdiger Schwalm

Recreational Spa Constanzia. FH Aachen (Germany)

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Conversion of Sterkrade Shaft I

Among the cities in the Ruhr area, the history of the 210.000 inhabitant city Oberhausen is deeply connected to coal-mining activities. With the planned end of subsidized coal mining in 2018, far-reaching future cost will amount to an estimated amount of about 100 billion euro per year. Apart from distinctive artificial elements, the landscape will not only be characterized by mining-industry related buildings and plants but also by acient shafts, which, are called ``Alter Mann (old man)`` in local dialect.

What can be done with the old man?

The regional cultural and historic heritage needs to be preserved and its full potentials needs to be exploited. About 100 billion cubic meters of mining-water have to be recovered in order to avoid contamination of the ground water.
Since these waters have average temperatures between 30-40 °C, even up to 60°C are not uncommon, the idea was born to use such waters for the construction of the spa. This will keep up the historical sense of the former mining days.
Existing shafts are in fact usable for obtaining and filtrating warm water. The planning area of the Recreational Spa Constanzia` is located on the former area of the separation plant.

Architectural concept

As the concept is based on the historic aspects of former mining industry, it is self-evident to plan the entire spa as an underground location. Creating a myriad of highlighting shafts by sunlight on different levels, a contrast between brighter and darker areas will be created.

On the surface, differently sized concrete cubes will be in the center of attention. The visitor will experience saunas, a massage area as well as in- and outdoor pools. On reaching the lower levels, the baths’ get warmer and warmer to reach a maximum temperature of 41°C.

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