The best outdoor pools are more than bowls of water — they're an interactive water feature, ones that play with sunlight as they create texture and color. An indoor pool is a different challenge still: does it open up to the outside world or offer seclusion? How does it cope with colder or inclement weather? Is the atmosphere restrained and mature or colorful and playful? With summer in full swing, here are some of the best indoor pools to escape the heat.
West Vancouver Aquatic Centre
Massive glulam columns span a 121-foot lap pool, a leisure pool (with lazy river and children's pool), hot pool, and water slide. A large curtain wall, hidden behind glulam mullions, visually connects the pool to its urban surroundings. The facility also includes a sauna and steam room, but not everything is for play: the leisure pool features a wheelchair-accessible ramp that leads to a pool therapy area.
Sport Complex and Swimming Pool in La Florida, Vigo, Spain
Packed within a tight urban site with a steep slope, the architects embedded a large portion of this pool complex underground. The main pool area still receives sunlight thanks to a large curtain wall that opens up the rear of the building. A black, lime-green, and orange palette runs through the interior. Adjacent to the main pool is a smaller pool, seen above, that features water beds and massage jets.
Sometimes indoor pools create warmth instead of shelter from it. Located in Alpine Austria, this facility uses bubble-shaped windows to visually break down the divide between interior and exterior. In addition to physical exercise, health, and play, the multiprogrammed facility houses a restaurant, shops, a barber, and massage therapist.
Aquatic Centre at Hillcrest Park
Located in Vancouver, this project also features massive glulam structural members and extensive glazing. However, this project utilizes steel columns to support far larger spans that accommodate a 164-foot-long lap pool. In addition to steam room, sauna, hot tub, and leisure pool (with water features seen in the lower images), the Centre maintains an outdoor pool for warmer weather.
Municipal Indoor Pool in Constantina (Seville)
Located some 50 miles outside Seville in the small town of Constantina, this public pool takes a much more restrained approach to its interior and exterior. Simple white walls and a low profile help it blend into its Mediterranean context while hidden cylindrical skylights admit diffuse sunlight. The pool area is moderately lit by indirect sunlight streaming through decorative wood slats.
F.3 Fellbach Aquatic Centre
Color is a driving element in this design: warm reds grace the children's area and saunas, cooler greens and yellows create an energetic atmosphere in the sports areas. The building's tactility is also dynamic, with mosaic tiles in shower rooms, concrete outside the bathrooms, and wood cladding in the dry sauna. In addition, the facility houses lap and leisure pools, jacuzzi, tepidarium (a warm bath), dry and wet saunas, and a saltwater pool.
photo credits: architizer