Sunflower pool (1973-1982) Matra, FRANCE

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Bernard Schoeller (1929-2020)

Construction dates : 1973 – 1982


Diameter : 35 meters
The pool has a pool Sunflower
measuring 25 meters long and 10 meters in width Height : 6 meters.


Sunflower pool (1969-1984)

The Barlin Sunflower swimming pool during its construction

The mayor of the & rsquo; time, Raymond Derancy, and his council were able to take the opportunity to replace the old outdoor pool Public Garden. Place Jean Marc sent us these pictures remind us that the construction of the pool Sunflower Barlin.

The complete pool Sunflower street view of d & rsquo; Aubigny

Swimming pool Sunflower

Born in 1929, he studied at the National School of Fine Arts in Paris. It then combines with Xavier and Luc Arsène Henry brothers. He win, in 1969, the aid for the project 1000 pools with its proposal for the so-called pool "Sunflower". The model he proposes is covered with a retractable plastic roof that allows it to turn into swimming pool. He realizes 183 throughout France from the mid-seventies years and the early eighties. He then set up his own. Its business then focuses on the construction of social housing, office buildings, industrial complex. Car Enthusiast and technical, he defends the idea of ​​an industrial and experimental architecture. It launches 1969, as part of the operation “1000 pools”, two competition for the construction of industrial pools. The first relates to the convertible pools in the city center, the second concerns the small towns. The answer must be innovative, economic and easily reproducible. This is one of the latest examples of state intervention in a standardized national architecture, municipalities taking their autonomy with the laws of decentralization 1982 then 1986.

Bernard Schoeller won first prize with projects of great simplicity like the Sunflower pool. The originality of the project is twofold. Schoeller indeed proposes to build a plastic covered pool. Its retractable dome transforms in summer indoor swimming pool which becomes an outdoor pool. The dome can indeed move electrically to discover the pool on a hundred and twenty degrees, a quarter of its circumference.

Like the heliotrope plant, it may open the first rays of the sun. This bias particularly interested municipalities, because it allows to adapt to the seasons. Furthermore, design provides that the movable cupola is widely illuminated by ovoid portholes Plexiglas. This emphasizes the bather to the perspective effect. The bottom window is the size of a large window.

Mass production :
Scheduled to be reproduced in many copies, Bernard Schoeller considering mass production. Various tenders are launched, to develop industrial components. So, the realization of the dome and basin is entrusted to the company Durafour. For the dome, the difficulty is to imagine a sealed system, with an opening mechanism allowing the movement of the moving parts. The solution is found by the engineer who designs Themis Constandinis a frame of thirty-six metal arches mesh welded tubes.
Twelve are retractable. Between these, are inserted plastic shells made by Matra. Trained sandwich panels reinforced polyester, glass fiber non-flammable coating a phenolic foam ensuring thermal insulation, half of these cases is drilled with rows of seven ovoid portholes Plexiglas. As for the pool, it is made of precast concrete and covered with non-slip epoxy resin. These large-sized beaches provide comfort to visitors. The premises are partitioned by sandwich panels
molded laminate polyester. These elements industrialized, representing eighty percent of the pool of components, are then provided by Matra and Durafour companies to local businesses. They perform on site only the structural work and technical networks.

This pool Sunflower has flourished in France 183 municipalities that are equipped with this module between 1972 and 1984. Three were mounted in Luxembourg.


The prototype is made 1972 and the first constructions appear early 1973.

The light prefabrication or science of assembling ". Made of plexiglass, metal, resin, it represents the pool Sunflower scale 1 / 75th The model shows the swimming pool with its sliding roof working at 120 ° suggesting beaches for swimmers, the single basin, Blocks changing rooms and reception at the background. The plexiglass well aware of the plastic material constituting the shells of the dome. This reproducible pool series is available in four colors : sable, yellow, red or blue.

The spatial organization :
All equipment is housed under the dome except those related to heating, filtration and sterilization of water which are set in a local outside. The lobby and group changing rooms along with a few private cabins are arranged in circular arcs, in the north quarter.

Mounting :
Once the concrete foundations laid, mounting the frame can begin. It is to assemble and mount the first four main arches ensuring the stability of the structure and the
secondary arcs arranged all 10 degrees.

Gerard Monnier, The architecture of the twentieth century, heritage,CRDP-Créteil,
Scérén-CNDP, 2004.
Gerard Monnier, Richard Klein, The years ZUP. Architectures growth
1960-1973, Paris, Picard, 2002.
D’Architectures, n°104, September 2000.

A Sunflower pool in Blois (1977)
In this picture is visible steelwork dome-shaped cover which was polyester. It's in 1975 on the site of the playground of the Cross Knight neighborhood began construction of the & rsquo; a Sunflower pool. This type of pool was designed by the architectural firm of Bernard Schoeller in the government program said Thousand pools one of whose objectives was to strengthen the practice of swimming in France. The development of such facilities in the country was made possible by low construction costs thanks to industrial manufacturing processes. Cities Beneficiaries of this program had the option, subject to availability, between these models : “Caneton”, “full sun”, “Full sky”, “Iris” or “Sunflower”. Blois initially chooses the model “full sun” so it was that of “Sunflower” who was assigned.

inaugurated 10 mars 1976, Tournesol pool of Blois was one of 183 pools in France built on this model. rebuilt in 2013 after a fire in 1999, d & rsquo structure originally was replaced.

Renovation d & rsquo; a Sunflower Pool

A facelift for Tournesol pool Lingonsheim





Sunflower Bernard Schoeller Nemours Pool (77)

The pool "Sunflower" is an issue of national swimming pools industrial type building program, launched in the early 1970, which led some construction 183 pools of this type in France in the late 1970 and in the early 1980.

This program was initiated in 1969 by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Recreation, under the title "1000 pools" and was aimed at learning to swim, following the poor performance of the French swimmers d & rsquo Olympic Games was 1968. About 600/700 pools were built, Iris type, Plein-Ciel-Plein Soleil, Duckling and finally Sunflower, winner of two competitions & rsquo; idea.

The type Sunflower, the most typical and the most common, is & rsquo; s work & rsquo; architect Bernard Schoeller, belonging to the & rsquo; time to Arsene Henry cabinet, assisted by the & rsquo; Themis Constantinidis engineer the structure and Matra for materials. 183 copies were built on 250 provided.

intercommunal pool of Lesparre-Médoc
3 Avenue du Docteur Benaben, 33340 Lesparre-Médoc

Following the hail: the public pool of Lesparre – Medoc
It should finally be off this summer.

likely reopen in September 2016


the Pools “Sunflower” are distributed to 40 years !

Rehabilitation of the Sunflower pool,City Direction – C3B – Vinci group



View of the Sunflower Cartes Postcards


Most of these pools have rapidly degraded. The municipalities are now responsible for the maintenance of public facilities, often make the choice to replace them with new facilities like Montigny le Bretonneux has dismantled his to replace it with a nautical center. In recent years, the remaining buildings are under protection. Thus the pool Bonneveine, in Marseille, was classified "Heritage of the twentieth century". The end of their production coincides with the end of active policies of the state in terms of sporting and socio-educational large scale.

Bonus !

Charles Pétillon


Virginia Maneval

I am the daughter of Jean Benjamin Maneval, famous urban architect who notably created the Bulle Six Coques, a plastic house from the pop years. You can also find me on my Facebook page or on my page La Bulle Six Coques by Jean Benjamin Maneval.

2 thoughts on “Sunflower pool (1973-1982) Matra, FRANCE

  1. SUNFLOWER swimming pools, for those which are now renovated, use a covering process whose insulation comes from recycled windshields, formerly buried ultimate waste.
    This is how to recycle and recover waste intelligently… especially since this insulator, mainly used in public procurement, benefits from exemplary durability.


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