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5/16/2014

Independent or Integrated Revisit

Pool Design article by Michael Nantz, SWD Master

As mentioned in my previous submission, the integration of the new swimming pool with existing architectural elements (i.e., buildings, patios, etc.) can be complex. Complexities may come in the form of material joinery, structural concerns or hidden underground obstructions to name a few. But to me the complexities are secondary in the design consideration process. Even utilitarian needs fall into this secondary category, a topic for another blog on another day. My position on primary design is visual, first and foremost. Living in a home with a pool in view from the interiors offers the opportunity of using the pool every day, visually. So, I find it, logical, primary consideration of swimming pool design is the visual aspect.

Initially let’s toss out the standard questions of how big is the pool, the steps, how many benches, deep, shallow, board, slide, blah, blah, blah and focus on the finished look. The utilitarian can easily be plugged in later. What opportunities does the space provide? Can we physically integrate water and architecture? Are the architectural elements in the foreground, periphery or beyond the proposed pool space, offer opportunities? Let’s say in the foreground just off the patio a post supporting an overhead trellis exists. If I were to take in the post and found it on a ledge within the pool I might plumb a water line up the post, wrap it in a material complimenting the architecture and bubble water out the top and down the cladding into the pool offering a soft rain water sound and the visual integration of master planning. Or, let’s say an outdoor kitchen area in the periphery sits high in the yard and allows for an elegant cascading stair into the proposed pool onto a shallow ledge, provided we consider structural concerns and allow the pool a close proximity to the kitchens foundation. Lastly, there may be a wing of the house projecting into the yard. Rather than move the proposed vessel far away from the house, such as the angle of repose rule requires, 1:1 or 45 degrees, consider consultation with a structural engineer and place or abut the pool to the homes foundation. Many options of interface are at your disposal, for one, batter the pool beam as you would a negative edge but in towards the pool, no coping just the minimal tapered wall, allow the tile to move up the slope and cap the finished pool wall an inch or two above the water line. Treat the finish materials accordingly to complement the existing architecture. This finish detail provides a striking integrated look; the water element joins almost seamlessly with the architecture.

My overall point here is, integrate. Not forcibly so, but when the opportunity arises learn to identify it, don’t shy away from it and arm yourself with a competent team to execute it. Not every site is conducive, but this concept, when applied properly, will certainly refine your designs and better serve your clientele.


Michael Nantz, SWD Master

Michael Nantz

Elite Concepts Inc.
PO Box 293314
Lewisville, TX 75029
T (214) 222-1225
F (214) 390-9989


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