Actually she was supposed to be writing her master thesis. Sarah Oßwald grins a big grin while walking close to the edge of an empty swimming pool. Her swimming pool. Right in the center of. Instead of burying herself in between the books in the library this geology student rented a shut down open-air bath. But next to the pool you don’t see towels pilled with sun bathing bodies, but backbackers struggeling to put up tents.
Sarah’s swimming pool is Berlin’s first urban camp site, the „tentstation“. A challenge for German Bureaucracy. And surely no easy task for the 28 years old. For months she has been persuading Berlin’s authorities, she has guided the public health department through the renovated sanitary facilities, she has picked up piles and piles of leaves from the last four autumns and she has pumped out litres and litres of forgotten waters from the four meters deep pool.
Tents not towels
„It was definitively worth the hassle.“ One can easily feel Sarah’s excitement. Struggling a bit with the new booking software, her eyes lit up every time a new camper walks in the camping reception – the former cash desk of the swimming pool. „We are really surprised how well it worked out. We are completely booked out on some weekends. And there are so many people just turning up spontaneously.“
The Good-Morning View.
Waking up at the tentstation and crawling out of your tent, you look right onto a perfect Berlin postcard sight: on the left hand the Alex, Berlins television tower, on the right hand the futuristic glass facades of the new central train station. Despite being right in the centre it is oddly muted, an unusual quietness for a capital city. Around the swimming pool little trees grow through the flagstones, a rusty chain gates the ladder up to the forgotten three meter high diving platform, the signs directing swimmers to the now empty swimming pool are overgrown by brushes.
„We fell in love with this site immediately. It has a somewhat a morbid charm.“ Sarah is proud of the retro-flair of the swimming pool which dates back sometime in the 50ties. This is also why she didn’t tear down the old buildings, but re-functioned them: the former cabin of the pool attendant has turned into an internet café, one pool has become into a beachvolleyball field and the baby pool is now a site for barbecues.
For more information check out www.tentstation.de