Water certainly represents life itself for human beings and also a source of inspiration for architecture. Swimming pools are a symbol of status for homes and a guarantee of inflow of tourists for hotels, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that architects spend time turning swimming pools into the protagonists of their works.
The first public swimming pool was opened in the 1st century B.C. under the ruling of Emperor Augustus, giving the collective the opportunity to access a privilege that was previously reserved only for nobles and their acolytes. Even though quite some time has elapsed from the famous Roman or Turkish public baths to this date, plenty has happened, and swimming pools have maintained their charm and evolved in terms of shapes, materials, and technologies.
Relaxation, training, health, fun, and opportunities for social and family integration are some of the advantages that can be enjoyed by those privileged enough to have a swimming pool in their homes. But where are swimming pools going?
From mosaics to acrylic
Roman thermae were spacious stone tanks in some cases decorated with mosaic inlays or with artistic or religious motifs. But, obviously, the concept of swimming pools has evolved over time and the trends of their construction have changed.
No one can forget the striking shapes that architects gave to the swimming pools of big resorts, which were usually related to an element that identified the place. As for residential pools that are more frequently found in buildings, depending on the available space, they were circular or rectangular, lined with ceramic mosaics and with anti-slip edges, usually made of cement or stones.
But like everything in architecture, evolution leans towards minimalism and taking advantage of the space available, as well as the use of new materials that are cheaper and reduce the risks of leaks, fungi and maintenance costs.
As a result, infinity pools were born, which provide the illusion of having no edges, with acrylic walls that turn the pools into huge “fish tanks” and the aerial ones that take advantage of terraces to house swimming pools that also complement the experience with stunning views.
To enjoy in private
High-end residential constructions have adopted swimming pools as protagonists of the works, but with greater refinement, integrating the pools – indoors or outdoors – into everyday spaces and turning them not only into leisure spaces, but also light sources or focal points for the decoration or design of the houses. Here are some examples:
The studio Lake Flato Arquitecs used the swimming pool as a resource to isolate the Auston Residence, transforming it into an island that communicates with the outside through small bridges. The owner of the residence required a space for his triathlon training, which led to the construction of this 50-foot-long swimming pool. This is an example of how an outdoor pool can give a strong personality to a residence, and at the same time satisfy the demands of its owners. In this case, the straight lines and the space required for training set the utilitarian character of the project.
In the case of indoor pools, the studio CplusC Arquitectural Workshop takes the integration of spaces to another level. The residence located in Australia has a rectangular pool with acrylic walls that is located between the garden and the living room of the house, which aside from providing natural light to internal spaces, also allows you to enjoy the view of the interior of the pool.
And since we are talking about higher levels, the studio Guedes Cruz Arquitectos, takes swimming pools to several levels, but literally when it comes to the Wall House in Portugal. This is a house where the owners enjoy a classic swimming pool on the lower floor, but also a unique acrylic pool that crosses the house from top to bottom and that, through a clever set of lights, provides a very interesting view of the complex.
The possibility to be in contact with water will always be exciting for human beings, whether it’s through an unconscious memory of the maternal uterus, the possibility of a physical challenge or the opportunity to unwind and relax that it represents, swimming pools will always be an interesting resource to differentiate residential works.