I grew up in a house on a ravine lot; it’s a beautiful spot and one that I appreciate a lot more as an adult. As a child, it meant only one thing: no backyard. And without a backyard there could be no swimming pool. I obsessed about having a pool of my own, trying to picture a way that one could be built into the steep slope behind our house. It didn’t help that my best friend had a pool in her normal, flat yard and I was as jealous of that as I was of her Farrah Fawcett haircut.
I am not alone in my quest for the perfect pool. Now that the once-exotic infinity pool has become standard, designers have worked hard to push the boundaries and rethink the limits of this recreational space.
Some have decided to go big. Belgian diver John Beermaerts designed the deepest indoor pool in the world as a spot to learn, practice, and film scuba diving. With a depth of 34.5 meters, it holds 2.5 million liters of filtered spring water, heated to a comfortable 30◦ C with the help of solar panels.
The pool has a number of simulated caves, as well as viewing windows at various levels for those who aren’t brave enough to take the plunge. All that’s missing is the fish!
Not to be outdone, the San Alfonso del Mar Resort in Algarrobo, Chile holds the Guinness World Record for largest pool. The one kilometer long pool parallels the ocean from which it draws and desalinates its water.
While this wouldn’t stop me from taking the plunge, I wonder if it really still be called a pool when one can kayak or even sail a small boat in it. For those who are freaked out about sharing the water with small sea craft, there is an enclosed space in which to swim. Or I guess you could brave the ocean right next door.
Quarry, Songjiang, China; Photo: Thoughts in Perspective
When it comes to pools, designers have dared to dream big. In 2006 the Atkins Architecture Design Studio won an international design competition with their proposal to transform the 100 meter quarry at Songjiang, China into a resort complex.
Proposed Hotel, Songjiang, China; Photo: World Architecture News
The hotel’s rooms were to be built into the 100 meter quarry wall, preserving the pool below for swimming and water sports. The natural structure was to be augmented with a man-made waterfall and an aquarium to be viewed from the resort’s subterranean levels.
Proposed Hotel, Songjiang, China; Photo: Inhabitat
Unfortunately the project, which incorporated a number of green initiatives, never came to fruition. But I am sure that somewhere, someone else is designing a bigger, better pool.