Once the must-have of the Australian dream home, our love of pools went berserk with tropical landscaping, curved walls and all sorts of aquatic mayhem that saw them at architectural odds with our homes. Then legislation changed and fences suddenly appeared in the middle of yards and really the whole thing became too hard and away they went.
A friend was recently ploughing a field and found a filled-in swimming pool, just inches from where there had recently been crops. Thankfully there is now a reversal with architects designing swimming pools into houses, so that while all the rules are complied to, the pool can be integrated and glorious once again.
This selection of pools from around the region shows just how elemental a pool can be to a home.
The Pool House by Luigi Rosselli Architects
Photography by Justin Alexander
For this beautiful project from Luigi Rosselli Architects, the glass wall of the house becomes the security wall of the pool. Effectively this means the view of the pool from the house is uninterrupted. Moreover, in wrapping around the house, the pool is transformed to become part of the architecture, rather than an add on. Reflecting dappled light back up into the house on both levels, the pool is additionally an added layer of beauty.
Luigi Rosselli Architects sought to create a dramatic outdoor environment that invited one to engage with the space. To ensure the integrity of the founding cottage, a clear separation of spaces and design was injected between the old and new sites. Fundamental to achieving this is the pool.
The pool wraps around and wedges between the new and old spaces. Water helps to soften the merging of these two starkly divergent structures. The contrast between the traditional connotations of the cottage and the pool tells a playful narrative of the evolution of the site and its adapting to modern design.
3 Ash House by Czarl Architects
Photography by Jiwen Bai
What makes this 3 Ash House extraordinary is the landscaping that has been included wherever and whenever possible. Not only is there lush vegetation at ground level to shield the residents and provide privacy, but also a sky garden and planters on the attic floor. Here long ribbon planter ledges shade the sun, looping around the house to form a horizontal ribbon.
Not only does this greenery provide respite from the elements, but it also helps soften the mass of the structure. An adjustable aluminium screen wall for the pool, accompanied by dense trees for extra seclusion and to absorb noise, all combine to create an oasis within a busy city.
Phu Yen Home by Story Architecture
Photography by Minq Bui
Phu Yen House is a home of hidden archways and courtyards, the dazzling white of the smoothed cement walls is the first thing you see, alongside turquoise touches in the wooden doors, which complement the oceanic escape. Light spills through the shaded roof and across the dining room – the backbone of the home. As a corridor, the dining room serves as a brief respite before being called to explore further across the pathways.
Nooks and alcoves hide secrets of all sorts – including the inbuilt pool, angled between a tropical courtyard and the recreation room, where layered shelves and carved platforms provide perfect cubbyholes for children.
Claremont Residence by David Barr Architects
Photography by Jack Lovel
Claremont Residence extends the house into the garden, wrapping around a large weeping willow. With the intention of truly connecting the family’s day-to-day lives with the garden, distinct outdoor spaces have been created. The protected courtyard, formal lawn, raised outdoor dining, and pool areas are connected to the main house (and each other) by a covered walkway.
Its elongated, flattened form and dark steel frame are reminiscent of Craig Ellwood’s mid-century Glass House. Large sliding doors and fixed windows open the main interior spaces to the garden and courtyard, blurring the boundaries between indoors and out.
Rudimentary forms by Designshop
Photography by Studio Periphery
There is a very elemental elegance to this house designed by Designshop in Singapore, with its clear massing, structural precision and material dexterity. The formal living room is housed in a gleaming-white fair-faced concrete pavilion fronting the pool while a bricked volume contains the more private quarters.
“The owners wanted a non-ostentatious house with as much garden as possible. Their brief prescribed an understated and timeless building that would respect the topography of the land,” says Joy Lim, managing director of Designshop. They also desired separate spaces for private time and social interactions.
Birchgrove by TZG
Photography by Nicole England
At Birchgrove, a home along the water in Sydney, the swimming pool, which is glazed on two sides, not only animates the basement when it is used, but also creates a watery underground world that allows the northern light to reach its core.
On the ground floor, the swimming pool frames the edge of the dining and living areas, and the water from the pool cools the house via the window vents during the warmer months of the year.
Franklin by Ola Studio
Photography by Derek Swalwell
Located on the Mornington Peninsula and drawing inspiration from the beachside locale (along with some Japanese influences), the pool at Franklin by Ola Studio connects to the main living area through a set of wide doors that open all the way up.
The arrangement makes for a seamless and vast indoor-outdoor summer entertaining area. The spacious open-plan living room and kitchen interiors reflect the serenity of the external wood panelling and cement pool surrounds. A palette of grey and beige is prevalent, with light grey NavUrban cabinetry and a speckled white and ash terrazzo island by Signorino, while subtle hints of pale blue in ceramics and art mirror the pristine pool.
Cove House by Ming Architects
The brief for Cove House was to design a home that is a sanctuary, a place of respite. Planned across the ground floor, the living, dining and dry kitchen open onto views of the water feature, lap pool and lush landscape garden beyond.
Set alongside a highway, the pool tucks in as a private escape in-between the large wall and the house. Ming Architects also designed a spiralling stair that juts out over the pool – integrating it even more as a key feature of the home.
Flying Wall House by Park+Associates
Photography by Daniel Koh
A large lap pool on the ground floor of Flying Wall House is located outside the dry kitchen and dining area, a placement determined by feng-shui. The architect shares that the clients enjoy this configuration of eating dinner or using the dry kitchen’s island counter with the relaxing sound of water close by.
From above, courtyards cut across sections of the pool, creating slices of shade, while also creating a pavilion, which is another favourite gathering spot for the family and provides a better view back into the home, rather than the neighbours’ tall walls behind.
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