A luminous portal made of fascinating light transmitting concrete has been created on Germany’s most beautiful and expensive island Sylt. Embedded in dunes, and with panoramic views of the North Sea, the Sylter Welle is a unique adventure pool with indoor and outdoor areas. It enjoys a prominent location at the end of the pedestrian zone of Westerland on Friedrichstrasse, and lies directly in front of the beach promenade. Now it boasts an eye-catching entrance that entices the visitor to step through a portal in the form of a stylized dune. The striking feature is that at dusk and at night, the portal – which is made of Lucem Lichtbeton – begins to shine from the inside through thousands of fine, embedded, light-guiding fibres.
The Sylter Welle was planned and built between 1992 and 1994 by the architectural firm of Krieger Architekten Ingenieure; a specialist in sports and leisure baths. Continuous renovation measures have mainly focused on the interior. Now, howver, attention has turned to the exterior with Krieger Architekten commissioned to renovate the entrance area to create a special and Sylt-specific entrance area. The concept was that the light of Sylt, sand and dunes should be communicated to the outside.
In 2015, the architects illuminated the saltwater grotto at Obermain Therme Bad Staffelstein with Lucem Lichtbeton, and the experienced prompted them to turn to the same material to create the luminous portal for the Sylt wave. Lucem Lichtbeton is weather-resistant and, therefore, ideally suited for use in salty sea air. During the day, the panels have a natural stone-like appearance, with the light beige colour echoing the sand. In the dark, the backlit Lichtbeton shines tantalisingly from the inside out and creates a dramatic frame for the entrance. Both in the light and in the dark, the Sylter Welle logo can be clearly seen. The logo, and the inscription, has been sandblasted into the Lichtbeton panels to a depth of about 20mm and then coloured with a weather-resistant lacquer in the required RAL colour.
Behind the portal is the actual entrance, which consists of two successive sliding doors forming a glass porch. These replaced the original revolving doors and will mean that less wind-blown sand gets into the building making the entrance safer.
In addition to using translucent Lucem light-ransmitting Lichtbeton panels, the architects also use Lucem Pure concrete panels, without fibre-optic fibres to clad the non-translucent areas of the gantry to the side and back. This results in a harmonious overall appearance.
A new post by Joe Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, June 2018.