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Swimming Pool Obla Gorica

Radovljica, Slovenia
Swimming pool and Tennis Court in 1933
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Swimming pool and Tennis Court in 1933
Šport na področju ŠZ Radovljica med obema vojnama

Ivan Vurnik is considered the initiator of modern urbanism in Slovenia. He introduced urbanism to his studies at the School of Architecture. The culmination of his functionalist phase is the Obla Gorica sports swimming pool (1932–1933), which he placed in natural environment. The swimming pool was positioned on a raised terrace with its northern edge leaning against the slope of the hill.The complex included the central swimming pool and a pool for children. Building wings were constructed on all sides except for the southern side which was open and clad with low massive concrete blocks. The eastern wing with bathrooms and changing rooms, and the western wing with a restaurant were plain white squares, while the northern wing had a reinforced concrete roof with wooden changing rooms and toilets. The roughly-worked round columns linked all three sides in a single architectural unit, with the jump tower as a symbol. At the time it was the third pool in Slovenia with the length of 50 meters (width of 10 meters). The baths were considered an outstanding example of radical functionalism in Central Europe. Today, the building no longer shows Vurnik's original design and is completely devalued in terms of design and function through sporadic alterations and the removal of the iconic constructivist-designed jump tower, reminiscent of a sculpture.

In the 2000’s the Municipality of Radovljica invested in a reconstruction of the pool, to be carried out by the architectural office STVAR. From 2011-2013 conceptual design and amendment of the spatial plan were presented. 2015-2016: project and obtaining a building permit. The design is based on Vurnik's concept of treating all the members of the baths in a single complex. “The flat roof along the slope of Obla Gorica, which is laid over a colonnade and two edge structures, takes on the role of a connecting element of various bathing programs. Consistent with the original idea of the roof as a technological surplus, an automatically movable translucent arched roof is implemented over the Olympic pool area, which enables the transformation of an open-air swimming pool in summer into an indoor swimming pool in winter. As part of the new construction, an internal therapeutic pool and a conceptual reconstruction of the tower will be carried out, which in its new function will serve as a lookout point and launch platforms for water slides. The image of the tower, as re-established spatial dominants, clearly marks the bathing complex in the urban space.”