Watt'n Bad

Dorum-Neufeld, Germany
Janßen, Bär Partnerschaft mbB
System Wiesbaden, Valley

Watt'n Bad

Architecture reminiscent

The Unesco Natural World Heritage site of Wadden Sea covers 11,500 km² extending from Esbjerg in Denmark in the north almost as far as Amsterdam in the south. This part of the North Sea is regarded as the world's largest and most important tidal wetlands which is why they are suitable for recreational activities or bathing to a certain degree only. But swimming pools built near the coast such as the “Watt’n Bad” in Dorum, North Friesland, ensure plenty of bathing fun both in summer and in winter.

Following modernisation and expansion completed in July 2014, the Watt’n Bad is now presented as a spacious bathing landscape independent of the tides and weather offering an outdoor wave pool and indoor pool right next to Dorum beach. The new main entrance is south-west of the outdoor pool in a free-standing new building accommodating two large changing areas. The area facing the shoreline serves as a starting point for hiking tours through the mud flats. The other half of the building accommodates changing rooms for the outdoor pool in summer. Visitors initially enter a lobby whose colours and materials reflect the North Sea only a few metres away: earth-brown floor tiles (Valley series) automatically conjure up images of the mud flats while the reception counter panelled with horizontal strips of wood is reminiscent of ship decks. 

The idea by the janßen bär partnerschaft architectural agency to use these materials to achieve a link to the immediate surroundings is also apparent in the distribution of light grey and dark grey concrete panels featured by the outdoor pool surround which reflect the texture of the streaks drawn by tidal creeks in the mud flats. The pool edge is formed by a high, sandy-beige and blue tiled splashback which, along with a spray water channel (Wiesbaden channel) integrated in the side pool wall, ensures that the water does not flow over during wave mode. In the flat “beach area” however, an integrated channel flush with the floor was used which can be closed on the inside and is positioned exactly where the still water level is during standard operation but is otherwise entirely washed around.

The sandy-beige tiles in the wave pool (Valley series) were not only selected on account of their colour which is reminiscent of sandy beaches but above all because they present the sulphuric salt water to its best advantage. This discovery is the result of extensive tests in large water pools carried out in collaboration by the architects and AGROB BUCHTAL. But the salty brine was also attributed a particular feature for another reason: because it is “more aggressive” than normal drinking water, the tiles feature particularly resistant epoxy resin joins while ultra-resistant V4a stainless steel was used for the hand rails.

A wind protection system in the form of a glass roof around the outdoor area serves as protection against flooding on the one hand while also permitting relaxed sunbathing even in windy weather. Apart from the paddling pool, outdoor slides, wave pool and relaxation pool above the technical area (where the waves are generated using compressed air), the indoor pool is also available with another swimming pool and paddling pool in bad weather or when the outdoor pool is closed in winter. Sandy-beige and earth-brown tiles ensure design consistency between the indoor and outdoor areas while highlights are achieved in the paddling pool using red and beige mosaic tiles. Above all thanks to the co-ordinated and consistently implemented design concept, the Watt’n Bad not only highlights the Wadden Sea Natural Heritage site as a reference project but also assimilates it, so to speak.