This year on the Open Monument Day i took the opportunity to visit the old Stadtbad Lichtenberg. I heard some stories about it, but i never saw it from the inside (i simply was too young). It was designed from the Lichtenberger Magistratsbaurat Otto Weis with two swimming pools for men and woman, showers and bathtubs, gymnastics room with massage rooms, a sauna and sunbathing on the roof as well as medical baths. The bath opened as the “Städtisches Volksbad” in 1928, built in expressionist architecture, and it closed it doors in 1991 due to various construction defects (the water treatment system and heating were ailing) and tight budgets.1

The old info table. Shot from my phone before my battery went out

Now it is getting renovated after 30 years of vacancy and it will become an event location. The first construction phase (which has been running for two years) resulted in an initial “event area” for 200 guests. Over the former 20-meter pool for woman a parquet floor was build. The area itself is not supposed to open until the beginning of 2022. There will be a second construction phase, for the larger swimming pool. It will also transform into an “event area” for up to 400 guests. The expansion and facade renovation should be completed by 2026.

The builders repaired the worst damage that occurred after years of vacancy, but also tried to preserve as much of the original condition as possible in accordance with the monument protection requirements. It has a strange vibe to see the old battered walls, railings, inscriptions, the old GDR snack machines with currency notes where the currency long time vanished. I would have loved to stroll around alone and check the rooms. Some people somehow did though. There was a small platform on the first floor, so that people could look through a small window into the former swimming pools. The doors where closed, obviously, but too my surpise, when i was looking through my viewfinder to arrange a shot, two persons appeared before me. It took me a moment to realize that there were sneaking around inside the swimming pool room. I don’t know… on one hand, I can totally understand the curiosity, on the other hand it feels disrespectful to the place.

Personally, i find it a bit sad that the initiatives to restore the bath and use it again for swimming failed. I think this would helped the Bezirk better. However, an event location is certainly better then nothing though.

View into the swimming pool room for men. Imagine my suprise when suddenly two people appeared before me here
I really love the old Berliner Bär

Pics shot on Ilford Delta 3200.

  1. I can really recommend the site from the Förderverein Stadtbad Lichtenberg e.V. for the history of the building and more photos ↩︎