When tasked with designing a poolscape that would merge with the wilderness beyond, Argo Architects knew they were in for something special. “This site was the most spectacular we had worked on this year, and arguably over the last decade,” says Will Marcus, Principle Architect at Argo Architects. “The panoramic views made master planning this magnificent site a challenge, but also a very rewarding one.”
Designed by Will and documented by Peter Choi and Dylan Chen at Argo Architects, this impressive project included not only the poolscape, but also the entire two-hectare landscape around the modern Colonial home.
“Our clients, recently retired, wanted the design to allow extended family gatherings but also offer a ‘resort quality’ lifestyle for themselves daily. It had to include a real hydrotherapy spa, and the views out to the Great Dividing Range ‘begged’ for a horizon edge,” says Will.
Inspired by the surrounding bushland, the team selected tones and colours that would blend into the landscape, harmonising with the green, gold and blue Eucalyptus haze beyond.
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“The colours of the landscape drove our material selections immediately,” Will continues. “The concourses selected are Cobb & Co from Eco Outdoor – unfortunately, the stone is no longer available on the market as the quarry it was hewn from has closed.”
The pool’s interior finish was Beadcrete by concrete and pool construction suppliers Designerite, and is a mixture of clear, blue and green glass beads and white quartzite crushed pebbles all at around 3mm diameter – a blend designed specifically for this project.“The Beadcrete system is of particular value for our clients when it comes to warranties,” says Will. “The specially formulated, pre-mixed and bagged materials create a far greater quality control than a casual mix on site using untested admixtures. This is important, especially if you want to ensure that the pebbles and glass beads do not start falling out a few years down the track.”
With the colour of the sky reflected in the water, the pool’s colour develops into a deep aquamarine. Green by day and enhanced at night with blue lensed LED underwater lights, the whole space takes on that longed for resort atmosphere.
“Especially important in defining the pool colour was the waterline, ledge and spa tiling; a Bisazza glass tile from the La Gemme range which features splashes of gold in the glass,” says Will. “The reflected and refracted colour lifts the pool water colour significantly.”
Tile Solutions, Argo’s preferred tile supplier, partnered in this project, delivering the glass tiles, their glues and the specialised epoxy grout and ensuring the finish was superb. “Tile Solutions’ expertise and advice guided us through to this right solution at the right price. Tile selections for pools are critical if you are to enjoy decades of troublefree ownership – and only expert advice will give you a properly warranted tile solution.”
Heating the pool and spa was a must-have for the owners, too. “We decided to use a QIS Solarwise pool heater on the main roof of the house,” says Will. “It brings the pool and the spa water up to swimmable temperatures, with an electric heat pump to then boost the spa pool temperature when in use.”
The thermal calculations required by the QIS Solarwise pool heater called for specifically sized equipment prepared by QIS Solarwise, who have modified standard computation algorithms unique to their product. “QIS Solarwse assisted greatly with the design and install of the heating mat located on the house roof so that it is invisible from all aspects,” adds Will. “This was critical, given the Colonial roof shape.”
The spa pool features glass walls to three sides and is contoured to the client’s body shapes. Double air bed systems inject small beads of air in a ‘micro-massage’ system developed by Argo and rotating double waterjet inlets with a ‘Gatling Gun’ action imported from the USA allow for effective therapy.
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Particular attention was given to the spa entry, which has been designed to allow easy entry for all users regardless of their age. The most spectacular feature of the pool is the curved horizon edge. “The big open sky made it imperative we establish a gentle curve to the outside of the poolscape, to mimic the curvature of the eye.” The specially designed sitting areas, especially the fire pit, create a sense of place for this home in the vast wilderness. “The view here is so spectacular,” says Will, “we’ve designed these spaces to allow us mere humans the chance of looking more deeply into nature.”