Designed by illiz architektur in Erlenbach, the swimming pool Allmendli features two intertwined dark cubes that lay on the edge of the ground, only slightly reminiscent of the site’s original layout.
The disused shelter for rescue forces at the edge of the Erlenbach school campus had disappeared under an overgrown hill and a sports field over the years. From outside, the only identifiable markings were two entries dug into the hillside.
The challenge put forth was to accommodate all areas of the pool in the underground shelter. The team of Pöyry Schweiz AG and Illiz Architektur was able to win over the client with an alternative approach: instead of excavating under the former billet to accommodate the enormous volume of the pool, the pool would simply be suspended above the existing cubature of the underground space. This allowed the surface of the water to remain at the same level with the surrounding terrain, thereby offering expansive views over Lake Zurich.
Besides the pool’s volume and lift platform, the underground space was also used to house the technology and systems required for the building and pool as well as an entrance hall and adjoining changing rooms.
Two seemingly intertwined dark cubes rest on the edge of the ground, only slightly reminiscent of the site’s original layout. The southeast corner of the military billet was exposed and parts of the outer wall removed. A one-storey glass facade now fills the span between the two flanking walls, providing a view into the hitherto hidden interior of the building. Deep dark green wall tiles radiate outward, bringing to mind the moment of immersion into a shady, clear lake. The diffusely luminous atmosphere continues throughout the entrance hall and into the changing rooms.
Even as the colourful wall tiles unmistakably transform the structure into a swimming pool, the massive and raw character of the old facility remains largely intact.