Wednesday, October 26, 2005


As the Stones remind us, when we aim for utility we get not what we want, but what we need. Which, in a sane world, is what we should want. So the first question to ask when designing a waterspace is how it is going to be used, by whom, when, and what else will be going on around it. Time and again, when faced with the impenetrable task of designing a pool for a bunch of people I only met five minutes before, the solution became evident after getting the answers to the above questions. Of course, it also helped to take a good look around at the house to figure out what were the tastes of that family.

Another good design principle to apply is one I learned from an architect a long time ago, which is to treat outdoor space the same as indoor space. In other words, to look at it conceptually in terms of separate rooms. These outdoor virtual rooms will have different functions, will be of different sizes, and will have visual or physical separations (sometimes just suggested, with a planter box, or a cusp in the edge of the swimming pool, or a different pavement surface).

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Size matters

In discussing matters of size, while it is true that the size of a swimming pool does matter, it does not matter in the way that many think. Unfortunately, for many the discussion of size comes down to how big they can make it. You would think that this would be primarily a masculine argument, and it is. A man is more likely than his wife to raise the issue, when I am talking to them about their pool design. The wife, more demure, cares more about color and shape.

What do I care about? That it work well within the confines of its space, and that it not overwhelm that space. So, as with many other things, it is not how big you make it, but how you execute it. After all, even when by the pool, you do not spend most of the time in it but around it, so you have to have plenty of space to play, lounge, cook, eat, draw someone aside for an intimate chit-chat, and so forth.

So the question reverses: it is not how big you can make it, but how small. And now the discussion switches from one about size to one about utility. More on that in another posting. But here I want to introduce my partner in this extended discussion of waterspace design, and the intersection of swimming pools, swim machines, fountains, hot tubs, etc.

Meet "Swimergy". It, for it is an it, is a distillation of many of my ideas on water space design, and I would like to think - if I am not jumping the gun - that it is an example of where pool design is headed. Why is the Swimergy a futuristic pool? Well, first because it is respectful of its environment, in every sense of the word. It does not glom space, energy, materials or money. But it offers as much or more than each waterspace it stands in for. But I like to keep this short, so more abou the Swimergy and the elements of pool design another time.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Why "waterspaces"?

Because we segregate too much. We give names to the objects we construct around us, and those names, like all names, tie us down to preconceived notions. So let's call the dips and troughs which naturally or with our help fill with water, places like the swimming pool, or the hot tub, or the fountain, or the swimming machine, or the fish pond, let's call them all waterspaces. It is simpler somehow, andnow when you think of adding a waterspace to your home environment, indoors or out, you will no longer be automatically limited by its name because a waterspace can be any of the above, or better yet, some combination of some or all of the above.

So, welcome to water spaces, and to the discussion of how we can encounter water in our daily life.