Remodelling and redesign of Oettingen river bathing facility

featured in sb magazine 3 2021
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Bridge to the future

featured in sb magazine 3/2021


The go-ahead for the redesign was given in 2015 with the announcement of a planning competition for the Mühlespan outdoor bathing facility. The park-like island of Mühlespan with its river bathing facility is a local recreation area and excursion destination for young and old in Oettingen and neighbouring communities in Bavaria. The existing bathing facility on the Wörnitz was to be upgraded and the dilapidated entrance building and the equally run-down bridge were to be replaced by new structures. The Storch/JBS/RUB consortium was awarded the contract for its overall solution. A new wooden walkway now interconnects all the existing and newly erected buildings and attractions.

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photo: Sebastian Weingart

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photo: Sebastian Weingart

To give the bathing facility an appropriate entrance situation, a 35 m long and only 5 m wide entrance building has been erected. With its sharp outline, the new building stands like a piece of furniture amidst large, old trees and its placid exterior blends into the existing setting. The distinctive entrance situation is formed by a striking indentation, which is accentuated by the peak of the irregular roof. The dynamic roof shape and the building’s elongated form reflect the constantly flowing waters of the river Wörnitz. The covered passageway houses the cash desk and a locker area.

Good to know

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photo: Sebastian Weingart

Oettingen, Germany

City of Oettingen

Architekten PartG mbB
DE – 01127 Dresden

Open space planning
DE – 01097 Dresden

Structural Planning and Bridge
Dr. Gollwitzer - Dr. Linse und Partner Ingenieure im Bauwesen mbB

Rico Schubert, Robert Storch, Dr. Thomas Gollwitzer

Sebastian Weingart,

Official opening
June 2020

Construction costs
EUR 1.8 million

Untreated wood materials

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photo: Sebastian Weingart

To emphasise the natural character of the outdoor river facility, both the entire load-bearing frame and the façade have been built with untreated wood materials. The main parts of the exterior walls and the roof are thus made of 10 cm and 12 cm thick five-layer cross-laminated timber boards and, together with some of the interior walls, form a self-contained, three-dimensional load-bearing structure. The all-round ventilated curtain wall is an open cladding made of untreated larch wood. The exterior doors have also been fitted with larch boarding in the same style as the wall cladding to emphasise the uniformity of the building fabric.

The various entrances are highlighted by glass louvre windows above the doors, which not only admit light but also ensure the cross-ventilation of the building. These louvre windows reinterpret the unglazed skylights of the existing buildings and, together with the design language and colour scheme, take up certain design features of the existing buildings. The two glass doors of the cashier’s office have been designed with special folding shutters to give staff a wide-ranging view when open.

The interior is dominated by the interplay between light, untreated wood and dark tiles. Together with linear fittings, custom-made fitted furniture and high-grade sanitary ceramics, this makes an impression of quality.

Slim bridge body

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photo: Sebastian Weingart

Next to the entrance building, a new bridge has been built which, in combination with the wooden walkway, provides barrier-free access to the entire facility. The functionally integrated column-free bridge has an unsupported span of around 22 m, with an effective width of 2 m.

The selected type of bridge type is designed to survive even a flood of the century. To keep the approach ramp short, the bridge body had to be as slender as possible. Due to its structural bracing in the concrete abutments, it has been possible to make the glulam arch above the flood line unusually slim (L/70). The effect of this highly slender structure is supported by a minimalised delicate rope and handrail system.

The wooden walkway with the bridge and the entrance building has a flood-proof design and is equipped with integrated seating and play facilities. The wooden deck of the new overall facility has a barrier-free design and provides access to all new and existing elements through to the northern sunbathing lawn.

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