Emotional roller coaster:
Where Cold Meets Hot.
Press release about the realization of a private indoor/outdoor pool with whirlpool in Courchevel in the French Alps.
When the idea of creating a stainless steel pool at an altitude of 2000 meters in the Alps was proposed to us, we were fascinated by the mission objective from the start. Moreover, the pool is located in the basement of a chalet, half in the building and half outside, separated only by an automated sliding glass wall, which is six meters wide. The customer's express requirements included bathing enjoyment at a water temperature of 30° C despite snow and ice. Innumerable challenges came to mind, for which we would have to find solutions.
Several elements of the stainless steel pool had not yet been implemented under these conditions, or in these dimensions. The French legal requirements for building a pool are very likely the strictest in all of Europe. Aside from the construction permits, the physics of the construction were the most difficult to resolve. Of course, the operation of a pool in such an extreme climate as the Alps at 2000 meters should also be economically reasonable. Harmonizing this with the desires of the customer and those of the designer was our assignment.
At a prize-winning skiing site, like Courchevel, such a project is connected with many unalterable situations. In order to meet the construction pre-requisites for the pool, the chalet had to be undercut by a depth of seven meters, because the space first had to be created for the pool and the control technology. The pool, measuring eight meters by six meters externally and six meters by six meters internally, was to be located in a basement, which did not yet exist. The necessary room under the chalet had to be pounded out of the cliffs. Including the underground control rooms and the house bracing, the concrete and steel work required more than half a year. Without considering the structural complexity, this placed the existing house on an almost entirely new foundation. We decided to manufacture the pool in two halves in Germany and then to transport them over the serpentine roads to Courchevel. Beforehand, a laser-accurate steel substructure was pre-installed by us in the newly developed basement, which was to serve as the foundation for the stainless steel basin. The pool itself consists of a steel tube construction with its own static independent of the building (which is standard in the House of Metal Design and Manufacturer in Polenz), which was then resurfaced with large finely polished stainless steel plates. The thickness three to four millimeters of the stainless steel plates as well as the size of the plates at the maximum length of the pool, which reduce the welding seams to a minimum, guarantee the best possible quality for the static and look of the basin.
This means that through the avoidance of welding seams, the formation of bulges has been limited to an almost undetectable minimum. For the pool at Courchevel, not only was a basin built in the dimensions listed above, but also a multitude of technology was integrated, which the observer will probably only see after a second look. There are 14 Jacuzzi seats located along the sidewalls, which were invisibly integrated into a bench made of stainless steel. In profile, they are asymmetrical in their form and conically tapered from below. Over their course, around two 90° corners of the basin, the benches along the walls create an extremely complicated three-dimensional form, which has been perfected by us. They can be activated by the basin, regardless of whether one would like to be refreshed and pampered by warm air bubbles inside or outside. The experience of the beautiful skiing landscape, with the panoramic view of the Alps, only adds to the already refreshing effects of a Jacuzzi, Thus, the octagonal Jacuzzi was positioned in the immediate vicinity of the pool. For this, we manufactured a stainless steel basin, which give the appearance of being a prism cut from a single piece. This impression, like the pool, first really becomes effective at night. Through the special LED lights, which are individually controlled, one has a tool in the palm of their hand, with which almost any lighting mood can be created. From giving the impression of a sunset to the underwater lighting effects of the Blue Grotto of Naples, any mood can be created with the flick of a button. To amplify the appearance of traditionally constructed Jacuzzi, it was then clad in wood in the style of a wooden barrel and given a mock oven.
An additional highlight is the gradually opening glass façade made of one piece of glass, six meters wide.
This element is invisible, contained in the columns and almost frameless, except for an edge protector. The glass forms a single element in one piece, which sinks under the water line. When the façade is closed under the water, a curtain of stainless steel mesh rises from the floor and also separates the internal and external pools underwater. When open, the mesh disappears into the floor. Continuous water exchange is ensured by the mesh wall, but prevents submersion under the barrier when it is closed for usage purely inside. When building the stainless steel pool, the energy consumption was also an essential issue of the design.
The basin does not have any contact with the cold concrete walls in the floor and is completely isolated. The warm pool with its insulation has been separated from the cold walls in the ground by an air cushion. The term "air cushion" means that a distance of approximately 0.8 meters exists around and under the basin and the walls or floor. This also has the advantage that the basin is visible and accessible from any side at any time. Upgrading or modification of the water attractions is possible at any time, as are regular inspections.