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An underground tunnel takes bathers straight from an ordinary-looking home to an earth-sheltered indoor swimming pool overlooking an artificial pond. Taking advantage of the natural cooling properties of the soil, the addition is virtually invisible from most angles, like an oasis available only to those who already know that it exists.
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The clients wanted a pavilion connected to the main house, a historic early 1900s liberty building that had been renovated a decade earlier. Raised up on a hill, the house had little connection to the parkland that surrounds it. Italian architecture firm Act_Romegialli envisioned a partially-underground facility that captures daylight and has minimal visual impact on the scenery.
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The new building houses both an indoor swimming pool and fitness facilities, with a glazed facade that looks out onto the artificial lake filled with water lilies. This keeps the white-tiled pool clean and suitable for year-round use, while maintaining a connection to nature.
The pool and lake are located on the same plane, and in the summertime, the glass can be retracted completely into a hidden pocket so the indoor and outdoor landscapes seem to blend.
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The designers say they wanted to “locate the pavilion far away from the main house in a strategic position, to create a totally new and independent space reached by a path that emphasizes the sense of privacy. The location of the underground pavilion far away from the house would then create an interesting and dynamic relationship between the two spaces.”