There’s nothing quite as relaxing as a swimming pool with a view, but cantilever a pool over a stunning landscape and add a glass panel in the floor, and you’re really taking it to a whole new level. Elevated swimming pools with infinity edges provide a whole new perspective of your environment, especially when they’re heated and you’re gazing at snow-capped mountains in the distance. One hotel in the Dolomites of South Tyrol, Austria, offers a dramatic cantilevered pool as one of six heated places to swim.
Sixty-five feet off the ground and 82 feet long, the latest addition to the newly-renovated Hubertus Hotel beckons guests into its warm water with the steam that rises from its surface, a delicious contrast to all that snow and ice. Made of anthracite-colored stone and supported by larch tree trunk columns, the pool mimics the adjacent mountains and reflects the sky. A glazed window in the swimming pool’s floor allows swimmers to look down onto the ground below for yet another unusual perspective on the landscape.
Italian architecture firm noa* looked to nature for inspiration as they sought to update the existing hotel architecture, enhancing it and enlarging it with 16 new suites, restaurants, lobby, reception, wine cellar, fitness space and a relaxation room boasting panoramic terraces. They followed the curving shape of the existing wing of guest rooms to give the hotel a sense of fluidity, echoing the topography of the land.
The pool itself is conceived as a ‘floating rock’ that has come to rest at the site to overlook the valley, as in a naturally occurring mountain lake. With its glass window and glass front coupled with the natural buoyancy swimmers experience while in the water, the pool creates a sensation of floating between the solidity of the earth and the expansiveness of the sky.
The terraces lining each level of the hotel feature rippled edges suggestive of water and clouds, and the tree trunks lean against them in an arrangement that’s particularly striking when seen from the ground. At the entrance of the hotel, they converge into a forest-like grouping, stretching to the full height of the building. The overall effect is one of rustic modernity, with all the warm and comfort of natural materials in a contemporary design.
“By creating a unified, rhythmically alternating facade with native larch tree trunks noa* connects ‘old and new’ in a consistent manner,” say the architects. “The homogenous appearance, following the natural topography of the area, creates the theatrical base for the design of the new, cantilevering pool, which thrones between the old and new accommodation wings, floating between heaven and earth…”
“The debarked larch trunks which were used as multi-functional facade elements for the existing and new building, succeed in creating this aesthetical connection. The multi-functional facade elements of debarked larch trunks create an optical link between existing and new, maintaining the homogenous appearance of the project. They not only support the dynamics of the curved facade, but function also as sun screens, room dividers and rain protectors, further enhancing the feeling of privacy and in addition to this forming the static basis for the cantilevering pool and facade.”