Pool Potentials


Berlin's 10 summer pools lie unused and inaccessible to the public for an average of 8.5 months.

Summer pools are unique places in the city. Here, the most diverse lifeworlds and realities meet almost nakedly: with each other, side by side, confrontation and exchange. Summer pools allow the social and cultural diversity of the city to take place. They make connections between the outside highly segregated and segmented bubbles of everyday urban life and its inhabitants:inside.

Why can a summer pool have this role only in summer? Why do these gathering places fall into oblivion for most of the year?

The initiative Pool Potentials (A project of Studio Genua) deals with these questions and has developed the idea of a change of use of the Berlin summer pools. For this purpose, the suitability of the summer pools as a year-round urban resource was investigated in 2021 in cooperation with various local actors from politics, the neighborhood, the Berlin pool operators, and pool visitors: How can summertime get-togethers be made possible across all seasons? Which groups in our urban society need these places during the fall, winter and spring months? What role can these spaces of opportunity play with regard to the general shortage of space in Berlin?

In order to anchor the idea in the city, a short documentary film was produced in collaboration with filmmaker Felix Pauschinger 2021, which shows the perspectives negotiated in the dialogue workshop. The film has already been shown at various events
(Architekturgalerie Berlin, Haus der Statistik) was presented to the public, and further screenings in connection with a temporary sauna were held in the summer pools in the fall of 2022.

Initiated in particular by a public call for ideas and a mobile project office in front of the Neukölln summer swimming pool in the summer of 2021, Pool Potentials experienced an ongoing major media response, as well as encouragement from politicians and the city’s population. The Pool Potentials team is now using this positive response to take the next steps towards planning and implementing a pilot project in at least one Berlin summer pool.

Studio Genua is a group of eight young architects and designers in Berlin. Since 2015 they initiate and realize projects in the fields of design, architecture, urban planning and activism. Their work ranges from furniture design, to design-build workshops and exploratory urban walks, stage sets, exhibitions, structural interventions, and residential and industrial architecture.

Team: Manuel Heck, Benjamin Meurer, Merle Sudbrock, Marina Sylla (Studio Genua)