Frankfurt am Main, DE
This outdoor swimming pool in Darmstadt, Germany, is an exercise in tectonic eloquence, a seamless integration of making and thought.
The project’s aim was simple but complex: to eliminate any trace of structural expression in order to maximise the visceral impact of the white cast in-situ concrete. This was realised through a bespoke steel frame which encased the shuttering during construction. The concrete is flawless; there is no evidence of shuttering joints or anchor points - just a smooth unblemished surface, articulated within an orthogonal form, its phenomenology enriched by the ethereality of the water and light.
All measurements pertain to the golden section. Italian coquina stone slabs surround the pool, their matt finishing minimizing glare and reducing the risk of slipping; and for the external walls, an off white shade of plaster to complement the warm tone of the stonework. The ambience generated is calm and welcoming; and from a practical standpoint, the inclusion of a fully retractable safety pool cover, accessed from a hidden slot, ensures peace of mind.
Detailing is meticulous throughout; a family room adjoins the swimming pool, the positioning of its windows aligning exactly with the grid template. The scheme’s subtle, integrated lighting animates the design, disseminating an aesthetic borne out of structural rigour, timeless geometric proportions and exacting materiality. The architecture has been distilled, reduced to an elemental state, enabling us to experience what is most real: the spatial tectonic singularity.
Additional Credits: All images courtesy of Ian Shaw Architekten. Photography by Felix Krumbholz.