Greek philosopher Empedocles identified four elements of nature: air, earth, fire and water. This was expanded by others to include space and modern-day yoga often focuses on those five elements to improve health and attain greater knowledge, wisdom and happiness.
Philosophy, mindfulness, meditation, or simple relaxation all have roots in the Five Elements Theory and we can connect to these elements in a single backyard sitting by the swimming pool.
Immerse yourself in the scene below and you can breathe the fresh air; touch the earth, stone and vegetation; feel the warmth of the fire; reflect upon the natural-looking water; and explore the entire space while gently and peacefully stimulating all of the senses.
The stone deck and zero depth entry to this freeform pool invites guests into the water – with their shoes still on!
Have you ever noticed that most advertisements for resorts include the swimming pool? There is a subconscious biological reason for this: Blue Mind. It is the result of great marketing but it only works after great planning has created a winning watershape – a memorable pool that makes guests want to stay for lunch and drinks throughout the day.
We begin our lives in amniotic fluid that is remarkably similar to seawater. Our bodies are made up of about the same amount of water as that which covers Mother Earth (71%). We are attracted to water and when we search for the ideal vacation destination we instinctively pursue resorts with beautiful pools.
Successful resorts require more than just surficial details. Elements and principles of design are tools but they must be applied to the project with a keen sense of expected use and flow of guests entering, interacting with, and leaving the space.
The Villa Resort
For example, a client wished to have one large resort pool but the concept was flawed because the expansive size dividing the property meant that guests had to traverse a long path around the watershape to reach the other side where restaurants and other amenities were located. Additionally, the 4 star resort would likely attract guests without kids and it seemed prudent to have an “adult pool” free of youthful noise and distractions.
The site also had a slight grade to it so we conceived a vanishing edge adult pool 30″ higher than the family pool, separated by a winding wood “bridge” that would also allow guests direct access across and between the two watershapes.
Plenty of sun-shelves supporting in-pool lounge chairs, multiple hot tubs, arbors and sail sunscreens provided options for relaxing and rejuvenating. A beach entry, sand-bottom wading pool and small waterslide provided hours of entertainment for younger kids as well.
Resort planning begins with a programming document that attempts to list and rank the many competing goals of the project.
This ‘Cabin’ in the Hamptons, with it’s distinctly long cantilevers, demanded an equally dramatic long lap pool. Designed by Jasmit Singh Rangr, founder of Rangr Studio, the bold home is distinguished by clean lines integrated into its site without disturbing anything beyond its footprint. The architectural coordination of the watershape’s design is a perfect match with the home.
The vanishing edge pool reaches into the forest the same way the home stretches its cantilevers into the environment. For a better look at the project visit Rangr Studio.
Below the wood deck is a coil of floating slats that roll out to cover the pool and retain heat when the pool is not enjoyed for its beauty or functionality.
This project was a major remodel of a pool and pavilion, complete with a warm covered outdoor living room.
There were actually two pools here – the one you see and the shattered one that was crushed by expansive soils and used as the form for the visible pool. Yes, it’s a pool within a pool.
This small valley in Olivenhain California had a couple of other famously cracked pools within its highly expansive soils. It was the primary reason that we actually eliminated the in-floor cleaning system and broken single main drain instead of splitting it into a safe pair – I just didn’t want the risk of one small leak wreaking havoc on the structure.
Opposite the indoor pool room was a small building that was a shed, workshop and pool equipment room. It was cleared out and remodeled into a guest bedroom and bathroom with certain finish details matching the new outdoor theme.