The Pool Sets the Tone
In order to determine which pool construction can best fulfil the client’s personal wishes, the architect must research the various types of pool. There is a difference between a skimmer pool and a vanishing-edge pool, also known as an infinity pool. The infinity pool is an interpretation of a seemingly edgeless reflection or swimming pool whose end is sunk to create the impression that the water flows into nothingness. If the water level is a bit lower than the edge of the basin, then it is a skimmer pool. And when money is no object, a mosaic pool with an overflow edge is the thing to have. It can even be combined with a wall of plexiglass. The least expensive options are standard-sized prefabricated plastic basins; however, the aesthetic appeal of these make them an architect’s last resort, for they resemble bathtubs.
A poured-concrete pool is still top of the line. Compared to other types, they feature a longer lifespan and guarantee. Furthermore, there is more design freedom in terms of material, shape and size. However, digging work will increase the cost. Modern steel-walled basins present a reasonably priced alternative. The prefab wall elements are more flexible when it comes to size, and most models have self-supporting walls that need not be stabilized with concrete. On the other hand, it is advisable to add concrete to the floor of models that exceed a certain size.
A common material combination is wood and steel. A treated wooden frame is reinforced with a steel construction and then covered with a membrane. This pool type is cheaper than concrete and what’s more, it can be installed in only five to six days. Another advantage is better insulation, which can lead to water temperatures up to five degrees higher. Because concrete has a limited insulation value, the combination of materials is recommended as a waterproof alternative. But it can happen that water will get in and lead to stress cracks. Extra sealing with a foil can help here; it also facilitates cleaning. A mosaic is an aesthetically pleasing alternative to foil, but it does add to the end price.
Anyone set on a durable, low-maintenance stainless-steel basin should reckon three times the price of a wood-steel pool. Stainless or inox pools, which feature polished surfaces, not only retain their value, but can last indefinitely with proper care.
Glass pools such as the Sky Pool at Embassy Garden make it possible to swim over a transparent surface at a dizzying height. This is admittedly a bit eccentric, but there is virtually no limit to the design possibilities for both private and public use. Acrylic or laminated safety glass up to 25 centimetres thick offers complete security. Generally, the pool consists of a basin of exposed concrete, tiles or stainless steel. The glass is set into the basin and then sealed with a silicone blend or special adhesive. It is absolutely necessary to measure the expansion of the glass in order to prevent excessive stress.
According to customers’ aesthetic and functional requirements, to say nothing of their purses, the choice of model depends on local construction conditions. Many German states require a building permit when the water volume exceeds 50 cubic metres. Various specifications such as adjacent properties, safety, structural stability and clearance spaces are tested before a permit valid for a mere three years can be issued. Therefore, receiving a permit means building should begin as soon as possible.