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 (or is just unwilling to spend it)- and despite the historic and architectural value such as the Lost Place Stadtbad Lichtenberg, 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.
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Construction of the Schwimmhalle Pankow
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 equipped 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.
A lack of funds for the Schwimmhalle
Both the open air Freibad and the Schwimmhalle were taken over in 1996 by the Berliner Bäderbetriebe. 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.
The Schwimmhalle Pankow Today (2016)
The Schwimmhalle has recently (2013) come under an arson attack so it is in terrible shape. Some idiots smashed the glass front windows and everything inside, ending their destructive spree by setting fire to the basement. Right next to the Pankow Schwimmhalle is the Sommerbad Pankow – Berlins largest outdoor swimming complex with a size of 80,000sqm.
The city invested in its refurbishment – and it seems like this had a positive effect for the future of the Schwimmhalle Pankow. Instead of investing the money in refurbishing the abandoned pool, it seems like they are talking about tearing the entire thing down and building a new one. It was estimated that this would cost between 20 and 40 Million euros and would take 3 years to build.
As of 2016 it seems like a solution has been found. An official proposal has been submitted which would ensure that Pankow would get a new Swimming complex by 2020. The new plans would combine the Sommerbad and the Schwimmhalle Pankow as a “Multifunctional Swimming Complex” ensuring that it could open 365 days a year. Only time will tell if these plans will ever be implemented.
Schwimmhalle Pankow Address
Wolfshagener Straße 91
13187 Berlin - Pankow