Indoor swimming pool Appenzell

MAK architecture

The indoor swimming pool to be built in the north of the town centre of Appenzell stands in stark contrast to the surrounding small housing estate structure due to its size. The indoor pool features a 25-metre pool, a non-swimmer pool and a sauna with a roof terrace. MAK architecture's project strategy therefore pursues the goal of optimal embedding: on the one hand, through the prismatic volumetry, which visually shortens the new building, and on the other hand, through the clever arrangement of the internal organisation, which allows for the lowest possible volume. Due to the striking topography, the roof surface is given great importance as a "fifth façade". The designed roof silhouette takes up the historical analogy of houses joined together and sets the reference to the surrounding small structure. The site is characterised by a strong landscape identity. The promenade along the Sitter is further enriched with targeted interventions such as the uncovering of the Bleichenwäldlibach.

The redesign of the open space is oriented towards the characteristic cultural landscape and creates an attractive path connection with the centre. The project integrates the natural topography. The slightly elevated main entrance to the indoor swimming pool is via the generously stepped ramp. From the entrance hall, the visitor has direct contact with the water. The arrangement of the pools follows the conical plot and forms an angled composition that spans a generous space. The upper floor contains the sauna rooms, whose sequence develops as a spatial enfilade under the gable, opening onto the generous roof terrace.

The different heights of the pools define the inner silhouette: the gable structure is visible in the swimming pool, while the sauna floor is integrated above the lower height of the non-swimmer pool. The profiled roof silhouette integrates the open roof terrace as a conclusion. The timber construction characterises the entire materialisation. The outer skin of larch wood embeds the building in the regional context, while the shingle roof takes up the historical analogy of the Appenzell houses.

Architecture Visualization: Hallenbad Appenzell
loomn | Exterior view: Hallenbad Appenzell

Loomn created several 3D images for the MAK office from Zurich as part of the competition. The professional visualisations show the design embedded in the immediate surroundings. In addition, interior images were created that present the incidence of light in particular. Overall, the visualisations enable the jury to gain a detailed impression of the design. The photorealistic images were also praised separately by the jury. The jury's verdict is as follows: The authors combine the uses into a two-dimensional, polygonal volume that builds its geometry from its parallelism to the river space. As the visualisation shows, the basic form and the folding of the roof are intended to break up the massiveness of the building for the viewer and to tie in with the small parts and the iconography of the gables of the local buildings. A forecourt is spanned between the street and the building, from which a staircase and ramp leads to the raised main entrance. On the other sides, the building is conceptually integrated into the green space.

Visualization: Hallenbad Appenzell
loomn | Interior view: Hallenbad Appenzell

The intended landscape setting, on the other hand, is newly established in the northern area with a parking space that is thematically supported very nicely with the uncovering of the Bleichenwädlibach stream. The arrangement of the service and bathroom uses on the entrance level has a great naturalness and a high usability. The compact basic form proves to be very suitable for creating simple horizontal flows for sports instruction and short distances for efficient operation, as well as ensuring an optimal overview of the pools. The organisation of the pool uses on one main level and the compactness of the references between the individual subareas are convincing. The floor plan disposition ensures very efficient operations and optimal clarity.

The different bathroom areas are divided by different room heights and allow for attractive spatial relationships. The connection to the sauna on the first floor and the link between wellness and swimming hall are well integrated. The processes in the sauna area are clearly structured and, with the central distribution room, create high-quality references to the relaxation room and the outdoor terrace. Above the concrete basement, the building is designed as a timber structure. From the level of the bathing areas, an insulated timber frame construction is built on which the folded roof is supported. Inside, the striking roof is clad in wood over its entire surface. The interior is attractively conveyed by the photo-realistic image. The rhythmic pillars of the façade create a calm, horizontal band between the pool level and the roof, which unwinds around the structure in varying degrees of transparency. The swimming pool hall benefits from generous glazing to the south and west. Through the external timber cladding in untreated larch and roof shingles, it is intended that the body will be uniformly sheathed in wood.