Swimming pools tend to strike a somewhat odd balance between that which is natural and that which is unnatural. On the one hand, you’re splashing about it water (usually outside), so it feels like you’re getting in touch with the world and nature. On the other hand, pools are made of concrete and plaster and they contain chlorinated water, so it feels a bit regulated and industrial. It’s rare to find pools that really play with this dynamic to create a unique swimming experience.
Mikou Design Studio came up with a particularly clever design for a public swimming pool project called Piscine du Fort (which, according to Google Translate, means Pool of Fort; it sounds better in French). The design was chosen as part of a contest for Issy les Moulineaux, a suburb of Paris.
Let’s start with the artificial, pool portion of the design. Piscine du Fort includes an enclosed swimming pool that bears a clean, white, modern aesthetic that is both stylish and inviting. With the exception of a few potted plants, nothing about this swimming pool really captures nature. There are a number of skylights irregularly spaced across the ceiling, but past that it feels more artificial than natural.
On the outside, however, it’s a whole different story. The roof of the building isn’t just tar, industrial air conditioners, and gravel. The designers envision the roof as a beautiful green park-like space where people can lounge and soak up the sun before heading downstairs for a dip. Remember the skylights I mentioned earlier? They act as something like lakes for the park, offering people a view of swimmers down below.
I have to say, I’m in love with this design. For those of us who are intimidated by the mortgage rates and don’t have the spare cash to outfit their backyards with both a garden and a swimming pool, a public building like this is perfect because it’s got something for everyone. If you’d rather read a book and work on your tan, you can stretch out on the gorgeous roof park. If you want to cool off, just head to the clean and temperature-controlled swimming pool. What’s not to love?