COMPILED BY Annnemarie Meintjies PHOTOS Courtesy of Laav Architects (Casa Brutale, Villa Clessidra), Benjamin Benschneider (Jw Marriot Los Cabos Resort), Edmund Sumner (Casa Monterrey), Kois Associated Architects (Mirage)
The design of these jaw-dropping swimming pools demonstrates that a pool can be much more than an optional extra: the architects involved have ensured each one is an integral part of the avant-garde home it adorns.
ON THE EDGE
Casa Brutale was created, say its designers, “for people who want to live, literally and figuratively, on the edge”. Indeed: this is a house one can imagine belonging to a mysterious bitcoin billionaire. But while it is obviously ultra- luxe, it’s also been designed to respect the environment, and constructed using simple materials: wood, glass and concrete. Its roof is a swimming pool with a glazed base and sides, which allows light to move through the water and into the living space. The home’s optical impact is minimal too, with just one façade on the cliff side, and no volume extruding from the ground level. With minimalist interiors, the enormous glass façade focuses the eye entirely on the beauty of the Aegean Sea. The debut project of Open Platform for Architecture (OPA), Casa Brutale’s construction was supervised by LAAV Architects – which is the architectural follow-up practice of OPA’s founding partner Laertis-Antonios Ando Vassiliou.
FRAME OF REFERENCE
Olson Kundig’s design of the JW Marriott Los Cabos Resort in Mexico seamlessly blends architecture and art with the site’s stark desert landscape and endless views of the Pacific Ocean. Although it’s separated from the water by a dune, the resort provides visitors with a horizon-framing view directly from the main lobby, “drawing” the water inside. Just past the entrance, two infinity pools appear to come together, creating a visual connection to the ocean beyond.
A 200m2, three-level residence with an almost cubic shape, Villa Clessidra has no underground or excavated parts: it consists of a steel frame and bare concrete panelling. Its most arresting feature, though, is the swimming pool, strategically positioned in the middle of the house. The pool divides the home into two zones: the upper floor or night zone is dedicated to sleep and relaxation, with two bedrooms and en suite bathrooms. The master bedroom has a glazed floor opening, allowing direct visual contact with the swimming pool beneath the concrete bed. Below the pool level is the everyday living zone: the ground floor includes a living room, library, dining room and kitchen, opening up to the forest on the south side of the building with rotating sliding windows. Its designers say that “being required to pass through this aqueous interim distils the daily activities and purifies the mind” – and we think it looks just plain fabulous.
A colourful collaboration, facilitated by interior designer Etienne Hanekom and professional painter Ilaria Louw, transformed a Cape Town swimming pool into a tropical dreamscape. Over and above the graphic pattern, a standout feature of the pool is a colour- changing LED lighting system with a series of settings and movements, which creates a spectacular night-time show by playing on the existing pool patterns. “The lighting in the pool changes the design completely,” says Ilaria. “The particular colour of light that is on affects the way you see the pattern. The clients have ended up with a pool that can constantly change according to the mood of the night, and never be boring.” Read the feature on this pool project, here.
Perched in the rocky landscape of the Cumbres de Monterrey National Park in Mexico, Casa Monterrey features a long, linear pool that was specifically designed to jut out from its hillside setting and provide uninterrupted views of the Sierra Las Mitras mountains. Its minimal appearance complements the geometry of the house behind it, which was laid out by Japanese architect Tadao Ando as a composition of horizontal and vertical concrete planes that appear to emerge from the landscape at different heights – as does the poolside patio. The pool itself extends from one side of the building and cantilevers over the edge of the hill, towards the horizon.
Located on Tinos (a small island in the Cyclades) is this incredible home, named Mirage, by Kois Associated Architects. The landscape here consists of rugged hills, across which more than 40 tiny villages are “scattered, like marble fragments of an ancient statue”, say the architects; there are also hundreds of kilometres of ancient stone walls crisscrossing the island. The goal was to integrate the building into the rocky landscape so that it appeared part of it, forming a sort of invisible oasis, and the resulting residence faces south, overlooking the Aegean Sea. The living space is roofed and insulated by an infinity pool that produces the visual effect of the water extending to the horizon and merging with the sea. Viewed from a distance (and as you approach the house), the only visible feature is the surface of the pool, which evokes the optical phenomenon of a mirage – hence the project’s name.