Austrian Oyster – Sports and Spa in Graz
Text: Florian Maier
In 2008, the city of Graz awarded a competition for a new swimming pool on the site of the old Eggenberg pool which lies next to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage of the castle Schloss Eggenberg. The new building is situated on the fringe of the grounds towards the streets, thus protecting the outdoor area.
Architects: fasch&fuchs, Vienna
Location: Janzgasse 2, 8020 Graz, Austria
Like a slightly opened oyster (German: Auster) made of overlapping, layered metal panels, opening generously to the outdoor area and letting in light and nature to the intimate indoor area, the shell contains all the spa and swimming facilities. Floor-to-ceiling glazing offers a panoramic view of the indoor area with its 50m pool, a learners´ pool and a gym. The 50m pool is suitable for international competitions in swimming, synchronised swimming, water polo, synchronised diving, and underwater rugby.
The outdoor spa and garden are gently shaped to conceal the bathers from onlookers. Different kinds of saunas, steam and heating baths, a salt-room, a water landscape of basins and a fire grotto, rest areas and the restaurant are situated in an environment of themed arrangement of flowering plants.
The IOC/IAKS Award jury’s verdict: “As it is the most modern pool in the country, eligible for national and international competitions, this facility is of high relevance for the competitive swimming in Austria. The “Auster” swimming pool, which is distinguished through its unique shape, resembling an oyster, rather closed and withdrawn to the street and generously opening to the outdoor area is awarded a silver medal. The jury emphasizes the high quality of the spatial concept, the light and activating atmosphere of the pool area as well as the fine and creative detailing, including furniture, materials and lighting.”
Client/Operator: Freizeit Graz Ges. mbh
Size of site: 46,500 m²
Activity/Competition area: 2,700 m²
Spectator facilities: 1,477
Start of construction: 3/2009
Construction costs: Euro 33.5 million
Operating costs in 2012: Euro 2.6 million
Number of athletes/users & spectators in 2012: 275,639