Harmonious balance

Wednesday, 25 July, 2012

Harmonious balance

At the prestigious 2011 GAVA Awards, Melbourne's Aloha Pools won numerous awards, including a GAVA Gold Award for Residential Traditional Pool. Here, we uncover the various elements, processes and challenges that went into creating one of its award-winning designs.

Tell me about the featured pool.

An innovative approach was required as this property had very limited site access and outdoor space adjacent to the existing home.

Removal of the existing pool prior to construction (which had previously been filled) proved to be an unexpected challenge. However, this allowed the designers the scope to create an entirely new space from a blank canvas. The close proximity of the planned works to an existing easement required careful consideration to ensure the pool would not undermine the easement. A 600mm high wall was built in conjunction with the pool to act as a retaining wall for the landscaping and screening.

Blending the original heritage of the home with a new lap/play pool required incorporating elements that crossed the boundaries. Constructed in reinforced concrete and finished in ceramic mosaic tiles, the combination of lap and play pool was designed to ripple around the dining area of the house and continue through the garden. The simple yet classic pool was softened by multiple layers of garden, while fences were cleverly concealed by a wall of foliage, turning what once seemed like a small area into a lavish entertaining space.

Rarely does such a harmonious balance exist between pool and garden. The lush green layers provide a striking backdrop to the azure tranquillity, while the subtle trickling of water features into the pool applauds the mix of functionality and form.

Equipment specifications

POOL BUILDER Aloha Pools Pty Ltd

DESIGNER Eugene Gilligan Garden Design (in conjunction with Aloha Pools)

CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS Reinforced concrete swimming pool

INTERIOR Fully tiled in ceramic mosaic tiles in Jade

DIMENSIONS 16m x 2m plus offset of 5m x 4m

FILTRATION Waterco Micron S800 sand filter

PUMP Hurlcon BX 150 pump

SANITISATION Poolpower RP40HD salt chlorinator

CLEANING Paramount PCC 2000 in-floor cleaning system

HEATING Raypak 2001 430mj natural gas heater and Sunbather 52m² solar heating system

LIGHTING Seven Spa Electrics niche lights

What was the brief the owners/client gave you? What did they want from their pool and surrounds?

The challenge of the clients' brief was to combine a lap pool for exercise with a children's play area, essentially creating two pools in one. The design also needed to integrate the heritage of the existing home with the proposed pool, landscaping and entertaining area. Placing a long pool into a small garden demanded the design be seamless and sit effortlessly within the space even though construction was difficult due to access issues. The clever use of space in order to fulfil all of the clients' wishes makes this an innovative design.

What do you consider the principles of good design, and how does this project relate to that?

Good pool design is about creating a balance between the project looking great and also being functional. In Melbourne, particularly with our cooler climate, it's essential the pool looks beautiful so that even when it isn't used for swimming it's still an asset to the property. The clever use of lush foliage surrounding the pool area of this project softens the geometric lines of the lap pool, while the pergola seems to float alongside the children's play area. The classic urn water feature transforms the outdoor area into a tranquil setting that can be enjoyed even when the pool is not in use.

What were the specific products used?

With a busy working lifestyle, the clients wanted minimal maintenance to be the key factor when it came to selecting the swimming pool equipment. A PCC 2000 in-floor cleaning system was installed to eliminate the need for hours spent vacuuming the pool, while the automatic refill valve eliminates the need to manually top up the pool water. The solar heating system allows the pool to be heated using the sun's natural energy during the warmer months, but a back-up gas heater ensures the client can continue to swim in the pool right through winter.

Are there any "green" or environmental features you'd like to highlight?

A solar heating system was installed so the back-up gas heater would only need to be used during the cold winter months. The solar collector produces zero greenhouse gas emissions and only the small solar circulation pump consumes energy.

What makes this pool stand out from the rest?

The harmonious balance between pool and garden makes this pool desirable in so many ways. The effective use of pool and garden lighting ensures the pool looks stunning, not just throughout the day but also long into the night. The stylish design of this pool stimulates balance and harmony with the home and creates a sense of individuality, while maintaining traditional elements. The swimming pool is the main feature of the backyard area, providing an elegant backdrop for outdoor entertaining, even when the pool is not in use.

About the GAVA Awards

The Global AquaTekture Visionary Awards (GAVA) recognise architects, pool builders, artisans and designers worldwide whose visions and creativity exemplify the best in AquaTekture. GAVA transcends beyond the traditional water-themed design awards by hosting an integrated worldwide competition open to design professionals of all genres and dedicated to influencing and creating thought-provoking solutions. The 2012 GAVA winners will be announced in November - look out for the results in Pool + Spa.

For more information, visit www.gavaawards.com

Photography: Ben Wrigley

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