Bodensee therme konstanz: architecture

Bodensee therme konstanz: architecture


To the emergence of the Therme new building

In the mid-nineties, it became apparent that the bathhouse, which was opened in 1890, and the baths converted to Jakob’s leisure pool in 1975 – affectionately known by the locals as “Jaköble” – no longer met the requirements of modern bathing and wellness needs. A feasibility study, which was submitted to the municipal council in 1997, recommended the redesign of the Jakobsbad and the renaming in Bodensee-Therme Konstanz. The architects’ competition, which was awarded in 1998, was won by the Stuttgart architectural office 4a. In October 2005 the first sod was cut, on 19.09.2006 the topping-out ceremony was celebrated.

On July 22, 2007, the over 25-million-euro project was opened.


Basically embedded in gently rising terrain, the Bodensee-Therme Konstanz nestles on the shores of Lake Constance. The construction follows the existing topographic lines, creating a bath with two large wings. These are the changing wings and the sauna wing with the glass bathing hall in between. The architectural gesture equals a hug of the landscape.

Mothership and dinghy

The large roof of the spa floats like a sail over the pool of the bathing hall and gives the building a special lightness. The body of the building, which surrounds the bathing hall – especially the sauna mothership and the extension as a docked dinghy – is reminiscent in its shape and materiality of wood-paneled hulls. On the ground floor of the mothership is a transparent restaurant overlooking the lake. The 19-meter-wide bow gives the building lightness and reminiscent of passenger ships piercing the lake. The panoramic sundeck on the flat roof with its white railing and plank-like flooring underlines the ship character of the building tract.

The extension built in 2014 also follows this theme, it lies like a dinghy alongside the mothership. The dinghy is connected to the mothership via a covered gangway.

The large, lake-oriented, transparent glass front of the thermal bath connects the interior of the bathing hall with the surrounding landscape – the thermal outdoor pool, the lawn and the wide water surface of the lake with its diverse light and weather moods. This effect is enhanced by the rising to the lake butterfly roof of the bathing hall.

The glass front

Those who enjoy the relaxing warmth of the water, a gentle massage in the spring pot or the bubble loungers in the interior of the bathing hall are encouraged to use other terms such as “vision”, “balance”, “featherlight”, “warmth” and Let “stars” be carried away to a gentle dream trip into the world of the senses. The glass art in the spa comes from the internationally recognized artist Willi Siber. He combines typographic elements with delicate, bubble and circular drawings, which expressively express moments of levitation, balance and lightness. An elaborate screen printing process resulted in 70 artistically designed glass elements that are inseparably merged with the architecture. Not only through the glass design, the spa becomes a special place, a place in which art and atmosphere permeate sensually.

Art under construction

On the huge, 78-meter-wide and almost 9-meter-high glass façade between the two building wings of the thermal spa, there are three monumental, hand-written terms on the outside: “muse”, “emotion” and “senses”. They already point out the by-passers on the lakeside path to the spa as a place of relaxation and well-being.

Unique lighting elements

The unique lighting elements by the artist Markus Brenner, which are located in unusual places, increase the sensual experience of the bather. Thus light bodies installed in the showers turn drops of water into millions of small prisms – and – as the spiral staircase descends to the bathing hall, the view loses itself in the blue depth of a “light fountain”.

Pictures of regional artists

The thermal bath should be a place where art and atmosphere permeate each other sensually. This also applies to the sauna area, where individual rooms are decorated with pictures of regional artists. A 2.40 by 2 meter print on canvas adorns the rest room in the dinghy. Following our mission statement Bodensee, ships, sails, water, it shows the view from the Höri over the Untersee to Konstanz. The original is from the artist Hermann Wiehl, who died in 1978. He was a friend of Otto Dix and a student of Max Ackermann.

The resting room in the mother ship is decorated with three hand-signed screen prints with luminous colors by Rupprecht Geiger, which were already executed in 1967. In their intense colors, they react to different lighting conditions in the space and prove to be typical works of the artist, who have lost none of their timeless elegance and power even after several decades.

Returned to Constance, specifically in the fireplace room, the spa society Konstanz has a panoramic image created in 1906 in oil on canvas. The 2.00 meter x 70 centimeter work was created by the Konstanz painter Amalie Vanotti. It shows the Niederburg with the Konstanz funnel and the Alpine chain. The location of the painter was exactly in our today Rheinstrandbad on the lower raft.

In the steam bath, the visitors surround a panoramic image of the “Konstanz funnel”, taken by Lake Constance photographer Achim Mende. The panoramic image is screen-printed on the glass walls of the room.

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Christina Cherry
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