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Lifeguard Station

Binz, Germany
1 of 11B22 Design

Lifeguard Station can be found on the beach in Binz, on the German island of Rügen. Designed by the architect Dietrich Otto and the engineer Ulrich Müther. Completed in 1975. The lifeguard Station has lost its original purpose. Instead of strapping Baywatch lifeguards scanning the tideless Baltic with binoculars, it is now rented out for weddings.

The building perhaps more than any other Müther shows the influence of fellow communist Niemeyer, although the two never met. Its graceful curves, pillared support, cinematic fenestration and white-painted concrete. Unlike Oscar Niemeyer, Müther was – like Félix Candela – fascinated by the mathematics behind concrete shells, striving for ever more precise calculations to decrease thickness and eliminate bulk. Given the lack of materials in the GDR, Müther's construction technique of applying thin layers of sprayed concrete to a wooden framework was the product of necessity – although the socialist worker state did not lack for time and workforce.