A modern gym, a spa, an art deco tea room and even a bar with walls and fixtures made of solid ice are all ideas which have been floated for the redevelopment of an historic Aberdeen swimming pool.
The Bon Accord Heritage group are currently preparing plans to reopen the Granite City’s Bon Accord Baths, whose doors slammed closed in 2008 following a round of council cuts.
After commissioning a study that found the Justice Mill Lane building to be structurally sound, the organisation is now asking the Aberdeen community what they would like to see inside the baths in addition to the swimming pool itself.
From sauna facilities to an indoor food and drink market and more, the team hope by providing extra visitor attractions the project would have an easier time keeping its head above water.
The proposed ice bar would be similar to others elsewhere in the UK and Europe, where patrons would pay to wrap up in cosy clothes and enjoy drinks in a room made mostly from solid blocks of ice.
Vanessa Smith, a trustee of the group said: “In order to give the people of Aberdeen back their uptown baths, we need to generate income from as many parts of the building as possible.
“It’s important to us that we can demonstrate to potential funders that we truly understand what the people of Aberdeen want.
“That is why we’ve been extensively consulting and engaging with the community and local businesses to find out what they would really want and need.”
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Ms Smith said that while a variety of ideas that have been put forward for the Bon Accord Baths so far, one of the key themes has been ensuring the redevelopment is environmentally friendly.
She said the proposed ice bar could help reduce the building’s costs by using excess energy from cooling the room to heat the pool.
Ms Smith added: “What we need to do with the building is make it energy efficient, as energy is always a huge expense.
“The idea behind the ice bar comes from a need to make sure the energy costs are low, while at the same time potentially creating a new way to generate income.”
Once the group completes its consultations, the trustees intend to assess whether or not they would be viable within the architecture of the historic building before moving-on to the next stage in the process.
An icy occasion
Ice bars and even ice hotels have become an increasingly popular attraction around the world.
Although typically found in colder regions, they are even cropping-up in the middle of deserts and countries with hotter climates, including Egypt, Dubai and Hong Kong.
The cool venues aim to attract visitors with their unique drinking and hospitality experiences and typically feature frozen ice sculptures, solid ice walls and furniture, frozen glasses and more, all kept far below freezing to make sure they don’t melt.
Patrons have to wrap up warm, often in furry jackets, to keep cosy as they enjoy themselves in the chilly surroundings.
The ice bar in Stockholm, Sweden, prides itself on being the first permanent ice bar in the world and features ice sculptures with an interior made from the frozen waters of the Torne River in northern Sweden.
Swedish Lapland, meanwhile, offers the chance to extend the experience by sleeping under reindeer furs on a bed made of ice in Jukkasjärvi’s Ice Hotel, situated 200km north of the Arctic Circle.
Closer to home, London’s ice bar in Mayfair offers drinkers special capes and gloves to help stay above freezing in the -5c venue, as well as the chance to warm up afterwards in its room temperature restaurant.