A Glorious Swim Below the Glaciers

Haley Grace223 Headshot
3 F 624 Aq Wf2 Freibad12 Lg
All photos courtesy GSK: Gesellschaft fΓΌr Schweizerische Kunstgeschichte

The pictures say it all. The Adelboden panorama pool, with the Swiss Alps forming its dramatic backdrop, may be the most exquisite mountain pool in the world. Recently, the structure was classified for preservation and renovated using a special coating called Keim paint, allowing it to, once again, shine with its original colors and convey the spirit of optimism that infused the era of its construction.

3 J 624 Aq Wf2 Freibad16 Lg

Following World War I, health resorts boomed. Places, such as Adelboden, strove to renew interest in their tourist attractions so they could regain the guests lost to the war years. This led to a tourist construction boom in the mid 1920s, and one of the biggest attractions was outdoor swimming pools.

3 G 624 Aq Wf2 Freibad13 Lg

The modern art movement found its feet in those same years. It was an international phenomenon that was both broad and diverse, and was expressed in paintings, design and, as in the case of the Adelboden resort, architecture. Swiss swimming pool expert Beda Hefti combined this new architectural style with his aquatic engineering knowledge in the creation of this delightful, colorful swimming pool.

3 E 624 Aq Wf2 Freibad1 Lg

A key element of the design was the use of vibrant colors in the paint, which gives the resort a Mediterranean holiday atmosphere. The open-air swimming pool, the changing rooms, children's pool, restaurant area, restrooms and kiosks were all skilfully integrated into the topography.

3 H 624 Aq Wf2 Freibad14 Lg

For 20 years after its completion, the swimming pool remained unchanged; however, in the 1950s, a series of renovations began. The sandy beach was removed due to algae, and in the 1960s, the concrete diving tower was replaced with steel due to corrosion. In the 1970s, the music pavilion was destroyed due to a roof that had collapsed, and in the 1980s, the circular children's pool was replaced by an irregularly shaped basin.

3 I 624 Aq Wf2 Freibad15 Lg

The last renovation of the pool was completed in 2004. At this time, the 50-meter pool was reduced to 25 meters in length so that a temporary sun deck could be mounted with ceiling supports. The sundeck made the diving tower unusable, so that was also removed. All the surfaces were painted in the original, vibrant colors of the facility.

Repaired, rebuilt and revitalized, the Adelboden glistens in the Alpine sun, and is an expression of the 1930s themes of leisure, movement, pleasure and enjoyment. The renovation has succeeded in reviving the original spirit, the clear architectural attitude and the atmosphere of a modern outdoor pool.


This article first appeared in the June 2024 issue of AQUA Magazine β€” the top resource for retailers, builders and service pros in the pool and spa industry. Subscriptions to the print magazine are free to all industry professionals. Click here to subscribe.

Content Library
Dig through our best stories from the magazine, all sorted by category for easy surfing.
Read More
Content Library
Buyer's Guide
Find manufacturers and suppliers in the most extensive searchable database in the industry.
Learn More
Buyer's Guide