Designing a Pool Wing
by Neil Quinn
Greater experience and knowledge of the subject, together with advancements in technology means that there is now far more choice than ever before when considering adding a swimming pool to your property. Thirty years ago, a swimming pool would typically have been built outside, at some distance from the main house, and have featured blue and white mosaic tiles, large bulkhead lights and been heavily chlorinated.
Today, your decisions neednt be as limited and you can create something far more bespoke and specific to your life and property. Whether it be a natural pool appearing as an oasis within the garden or a sleek and precise pool, housed within its own pool house, the possibilities are far-reaching.
These days, the pendulum is shifting towards indoor pools, be it an additional wing to the house or a discreetly attached annex building. Despite the additional cost, this approach makes far more sense in this country. The window of opportunity to use an outdoor pool in the UK is limited to the summer months at best but also, with high quality design utilising the advancements in glazing and air-handling technologies it is possible to create a building that opens up almost completely when the sun is out but that still connects you to the outside spaces whilst keeping you warm and dry in the winter months. Your pool can be a year-round investment and not just a summer activity.
If you do decide to commission an indoor pool, it is important to make the right decisions in order to avoid creating something more akin to a municipal leisure centre pool. Avoid settling for the standard accessories and steer away from preconceptions about what you expect a pool to look like. Subtle, restrained use of small LED or fibre optic lights, large format tiles, hidden covers and slimline, minimal air vents show an attention to detail and let the pool and building do the talking.
Your pool building no longer needs to be dominated by the smell of chlorine. With the advent of UV filters, ozone water treatments and other such systems, the use of chlorine has been massively reduced to the point where there is no more chlorine in your pool than there is in your drinking water.
The traditional country houses would never have been built with an indoor swimming pool, so there is no real traditional precedent of what a pool house should look like. In fact, with the indoor pool being a modern concept, it really does suit a contemporary structure. The contrast between the contemporary and the traditional can be spectacular and your pool wing could be an open structure and really connect with the landscape, leaving you feeling as if you are swimming in the garden. The 21st centurys addition to the rich architectural heritage.
This is an approach we have used successfully a number of times and have won 2 RIBA awards in the last 4 years for contemporary pool buildings annexed to traditional or listed houses. One set a minimal and elegant glass structure within a listed walled garden, the other used a barn-like building to transition from the traditional cotswold house to the sleek, contemporary pool building. Both schemes also incorporated gymnasiums, saunas and changing areas to provide everything youd require from a modern leisure facility.
These days people want to be able to use their pool on a daily basis and forming the pool indoors and connecting it, or having it close to the house allows you to do this, regardless of the weather or the season. This evolution is much like the way the kitchen has become the heart of the home and family life; the pool has become and integral and fundamental part of the country house.