The “AmKaiserstrand” bathhouse in western Austria offers spectacular views of theBay of Bregenz, Pfaender Mountain and the foothills of the Swiss Alps. A 42 metre long pier connects the pile structure situated on the eastern
coast of Lake Constance to the recreational zone of the same name on shore. The revitalisation ofthe entire complex has also just been completed: the coastal promenade wasextended, new pedestrian and bike paths were laid out, and a historic hotelcomplex was refurbished. The bathhouse is, however, without a doubt,the highlight.
Translated into the contemporary formal vocabulary ofVorarlberg’s architecture, it convincingly continues the typology referred toas the Swabian Sea tradition. Resting atop theplatform – which is supported by 30 reinforced concrete columns – is a simple,single-storey structure. It houses a glazed restaurant (whose terrace providesaccess to the sundeck), as well as changing rooms, showers and WCs. The numerous storey-high folding shutters, which constitute the facade’soutermost layer, and the sliding-glass doors behind them allow the building tobe used flexibly; because the bathhouse can be opened up completely, or, on theother hand, closedand protected, for example, from inclement weather, a variety of spatialcombinations are possible.
The use of wood,however, is a constant: the columns and the beams. as well as the horizontalcladding of the facade, and allfloors – inside andout – are all of the renewable resource. In a nod to sustainabllity, the architectsworked with untreated silver firfrom nearby forests.The silver fir, which is exposed to the elements, will weather naturally withthe passage of time. The energy concept isalso environmentally sound.
The bathhouse is equipped with controlledventilation and heat-recovery.During the heatingseason, an air-ta-air heat pump pre-warms the incoming air to ensure that therestaurant space can be quickly brought up to a comfortable temperature. .