It seems like nobody likes to go swimming anymore these days. Or at least one gets that impression when looking at the amount of abandoned swimming pools Berlin has. The city has no money to repair them – and despite the historic and architectural value, most of them remain closed for the foreseeable future. It would be foolish to think that the fate of 1970s Public Pool would be any different – and it is. The Schwimmhalle Pankow, closed 12 years ago will most likely never open again.
The Schwimmhalle Pankow- an abandoned swimming pool – was built in 1971 as an addition to the Freibad Pankow, an open air – summer public pool (like the abandoned Wernerbad in Mahlsdorf), to provide the residents with a possibility to go swimming all year around.
Designed by the architect Gunther Derdau, the pool was built as a prototype and model for several other public pools in Berlin. It was equpied with a modern water filtration system (not all too common at the time) and a energy saving appliances.
The roof was constructed out of prestressed concrete – in a so-called VT Fold (making it look wavy). This form enabled the roof to be extremely durable and thin, and was used in multiple East German buildings.
The swimming pool had a dimension of 25 x 12.5 meters and a continuous water depth of 1.80 m. It offered 5 lanes, and was even accessible for old and/or disabled people through a staircase. At the end of the pool was a 12 x 8.5 meter large non-swimmers pool which had its own water treatment plant which could adjust the water temperature in relatively short time. In addition of having 2 pools, the building housed a modest Sauna in the cellar.
Both the open air Freibad and the Schwimmhalle were taken over in 1996 by the Berliner Bäderbetrieben. After the restoration plans fell through, the Pool was shut down due to the high maintenance costs in 2001. Over the years, the residents, the district and the city have been arguing about the fate of the pool – and earlier this year it seemed like a solution was found to reopen the pool. The hopes were short-lived as the money which would have been allocated to the refurbishment of the Schwimmhalle Pankow was given to another Public Swimming Pool.