What does the Westerwald-based family company, Steuler have to do with the new "Rulantica" water world in the Europa Park in Rust? A great deal, as it happens. What visitors to the park from the region may not be aware of: the Siershahn-based medium-sized enterprise STEULER-KCH Schwimmbadbau was involved in building the indoor and outdoor pools during construction of the vast water world, representing yet another prestigious order worth around 1 million euros to the company. It was a fairly challenging project. It was fascinating for us to observe the creative thought processes and working methods of theme park operators", states Joachim Ostrowski, General Manager of STEULER-KCH (Pool Linings). "The collaboration was extremely fair", declares the satisfied chartered engineer following the successful conclusion of the project.
The scale of the roughly 250-million-euro construction project is enormous: The Rulantica water world, along with its attendant hotel complex, is the biggest investment by the owning family of entrepreneurs, the brothers Roland and Jürgen Mack, since the Europa Park was established back in 1975 – in fact, it is one of the largest single investments made by a private developer in Baden-Württemberg. The water world covers an area of approximately 63 football pitches. The centrepiece is a 20-metre-high, shell-shaped indoor pool environment covering around 12,000 square metres, roughly 3000 of which is water. The water world encompasses nine differently themed areas and features 25 water attractions including 17 slides and a wave pool. The 8000-square-metre outdoor area is dominated by the spectacular "Wild River" ride that the Westerwald swimming pool specialists played a significant part in constructing.
The Rulantica project in Rust required the specialists from the Westerwald to make the technically complex connection to the special "Pebble Tec" lining imported from the USA for all of the indoor pools. The floor covering of the pool surrounds is also anti-slip and scratch-resistant, like that found on cruise ships. "Steuler installed a special rubber lining between these layers and the internal concrete shell that acts like a clamp", explains Ostrowski. Apart from lining the indoor pools, the Steuler subsidiary was also responsible for constructing the overflow gutters. This order alone was worth around 500,000 euros.
In addition to this, the Steuler specialists lined the roughly 200-metre-long "Wild River" ride in the outdoor area. "The chute consists of 20 large concrete elements. The water in the channel varies wildly in terms of flow characteristics and speed", explains Ostrowski. And the owner's requirements of the roughly 1500-square-metre lined surface were very demanding: The lining had to be wear-resistant, chlorine-resistant, UV-resistant and absolutely smooth. Steuler first lined the pool with glass-fibre reinforced plastic. A proprietary coating just one millimetre thick and that is "extremely wear-resistant" was then sprayed on top, explains Ostrowski proudly. It took the laboratory in Siershahn around three months to develop. This order contributed a further 500,000 euros to Steuler's revenue. The owners, the Mack family, are not the only ones impressed by the product, either. "We're currently in the process of securing follow-on projects for leisure pools in Norway, the Czech Republic and in Germany", reveals the Steuler manager happily. How did Steuler come to be awarded the prestigious contract at the Europa Park in Rust? It was first and foremost down to our good contacts in the industry. Although a US-American architectural firm, which also does work for the Disney theme parks, developed the master plan for the water world down to the smallest detail together with the owning family Mack and a team of architects, specialist engineers, structural engineers, designers and visualisers, the Osnabrück planning office "pbr", a longstanding customer of Steuler's, was responsible for realising the project. The office was charged with giving physical structure to the American design concept together with designing the foyer, changing rooms and the restaurant and bar areas. And importantly: the experts had to ensure that all of the elements used to construct the water world comply with the strict German regulations and standards. And the Westerwald swimming pool builders from Steuler were the partners of choice for this. "We've known the planning office for years and work well together when it comes to swimming pool construction projects", affirms Ostrowski. The planning phase for the project began back in 2015, and things started to get serious in May 2019. Around 30 Steuler workers were on site in Rust to line the pools and Wild River ride. By September, the experts were finished – the Rulantica water park opened to the public on the 28th of November, and has been attracting around 4,500 people each day ever since. "It was a great project, a real gem", says Ostrowski looking back. And best of all: "The new Steuler lining material represents a further cornerstone of our product range on which we can build", concludes the head of STEULER-KCH Schwimmbadbau, satisfied.
By author: Stephanie Kühr, Rhein-Zeitung
Picture by: Markus Garscher/ Europa-Park Rust