Refurbishment of Mineralbad Berg in Stuttgart

featured in sb magazine 3/2021
Order your copy

Quality upgrade for historic pool

featured in sb magazine 2/2021

Its over 163 years of history give Stuttgart’s historic Mineralbad Berg spa a unique character – and the local population’s reverence for the spa is also immense. The focus of the refurbishment was to preserve the spa’s special character and to give a contemporary reinterpretation of the design in the style of the 1950s. 4a Architekten’s task was to find the right balance between preservation, renewal and supplementation. The refurbishment of the design and technical installations comprised the entire existing complex with its indoor and outdoor bathing areas, restaurant, and sauna zone on the upper floor.

Its exclusive location in the urban setting, embedded in a spacious park landscape of mature trees, gives Stuttgart’s cult swimming pool a special quality of stay. The L-shaped building with north and east wings flanking the square outdoor pool with its lake-like character has retained its original form after being stripped down to the carcase.

The spa’s central hub is the foyer at the intersection of the building axes. Enjoying barrier-free mobility, bathers can now access the lower entrance area and restaurant via a ramp. This is where art features from the existing building, such as the restored Ackermann glass art on the ceiling and the gold-plated bathtub on the gallery, lend striking accentuation. The newly designed entrance area with its shimmering blue mosaic stone façade and the exposed colonnade gives the building its own iconic identity in the urban setting. Extensive glazing provides a view of the outdoor pool and garden from the outside and creates a light-flooded atmosphere inside.

4a_Mineralbad Berg (c) Uwe Ditz_88A1349.jpg

Photo: Uwe Ditz, Stuttgart

Good to know

4a_Mineralbad Berg (c) Uwe Ditz_13481Final A.jpg

Photo: Uwe Ditz, Stuttgart

Stuttgart, Germany

Bäderbetriebe Stuttgart

4a Architekten GmbH
DE – 70376 Stuttgart

Design Team
Martin Schweizer (Project management), Thorsten Buck, Martina Henke, Andreas Rothmann

Izabella Hüttig, Patricia Löw

Supervisory staff
Daniel Hauptmann, Marc Holtschmidt, Silvia Nanz

4a Architekten GmbH

Uwe Ditz, Stuttgart

Official opening
October 2020

Construction costs
EUR 26 million

4a_Mineralbad Berg (c) Uwe Ditz_13567_E1cl.jpg

Photo: Uwe Ditz, Stuttgart

The bathing level comprising the indoor pool, exercise pool and outdoor pool is on the ground floor. On the upper floor is the sauna zone with lounging areas, gender-segregated as prior to refurbishment, and a gymnastics room with a view of the park.

New building blends in seamlessly
The old exercise pool in the east of the complex has been demolished and replaced by an annex to the bathing hall. By extending the east wing, the new building blends seamlessly into the ensemble and the exercise pool can now be used independently of public pool operations. New plant rooms have been installed in the basement.

The bathing hall has been supplemented with a gallery and fitted with a new ribbed wooden ceiling that gently sweeps from the wall across the ceiling to the glass façade. It gives the interior a warm atmosphere and good acoustics. A distinctive feature of the indoor pool is the graphically designed tile wall developed in collaboration with the Stuttgart artist Prof. Matthias Kohlmann with reference to the wall’s pre-upgrade state.

The adjacent exercise pool reiterates the materiality of the indoor pool. Here, the restored glass art by Hundhausen sets a striking colour accent in the exposed concrete wall at the end of the building.


4a_Mineralbad Berg (c) Uwe Ditz_13898.jpg

Photo: Uwe Ditz, Stuttgart

Modernised for winter use

4a_Mineralbad Berg (c) Uwe Ditz_14091_FinalB.jpg

Photo: Uwe Ditz, Stuttgart

The outdoor pool has retained its shape and size, but has had to be completely rebuilt. It has been tiled and fitted with a swim-out channel and pool lighting for winter use. The picturesque garden with its large trees, rose beds and numerous Dannecker sculptures has been preserved in its original state.

In keeping with the building’s original appearance, the existing column grid articulates the large glass façades from the outside, and the sun balconies with awnings and horizontal balustrades overlooking the park have also been retained. Unique elements such as the summer changing rooms and wooden recliners in the outdoor area as well as the cold water showers and pendant lights in the bathing hall were put into storage after the closure of the spa and have been restored and reinstalled.

Characteristic of the upgraded spa is a limited selection of materials such as wood, porcelain stoneware, mosaic tiles, exposed concrete and steel, and a subdued colour scheme – for an atmosphere that is as calm and relaxing as possible. With this design approach, optimisation of the space and minor changes to procedures, it has been possible to create a new quality while preserving the legendary Mineralbad Berg’s authentic appearance.