Whether it’s taking a gentle dip or plunging feet first with gusto, a swimming pool is the ideal place in which to shed one’s inhibitions. A recreational marvel, sitting poolside on a sunny day can work wonders for the body, mind, and soul.
These ten outdoor pools offer a moment of tranquility, their water tempting the dabble of feet or a brisk and vigorous swim. Perfectly poised, they make a splash in their own right, with designs that quietly, and in some cases loudly, attract attention. From infinity pools that merge with sea and sky to cantilevered pools that offer a sense of floating weightlessness, this selection of swimming pools showcases a number of striking architectural features. Moreover, they mix an array of materials, including glass fronts, acrylic bottoms, anthracite-colored stone, multicolored tesserae, and reflective mirrors.
1. Art Villa
Art Villa is an impressive concrete dwelling in Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica. Designed by Formafatal, the villa sits on a hillside, its solid frame surrounded by lush vegetation. The cantilevered pool is an especially noteworthy feature.
High in the Hollywood Hills, Forest Knoll is a huge contemporary “farmhouse”. Designed by Standard Architecture, it is inspired by the all-American barn vernacular. The home’s infinity pool offers 180-degree views across the Pacific Ocean and the Los Angeles basin.
Located in Olang, at the foot of Kronplatz mountain in the Dolomites, Hotel Hubertus features an eye-catching “sky pool” designed by architectural firm NOA. The cantilevered swimming pool hovers in the air, held aloft by massive tree trunks (in actuality, steel pillars that are cleverly disguised and clad in larch wood). Its design offers a metaphorical reminder of a mountain lake.
Argentinian-Spanish artist Felipe Pantone created a large-scale artwork on the bottom of this swimming pool in a smart, contemporary seafront home in Jávea, Spain. The geometric artwork is a colorful glass mosaic made using thousands of tesserae by Spanish brand ONIX.
Sited on a small secluded rocky cove in Agios Sostis, Greece, NCaved was designed by MOLD Architects. Sheltered within the earth and protected from the wind, the house and its concealed pool take full advantage of the extensive Mediterranean Sea views.
The Skyline Coast is a popular tourist attraction in Sanya, on the Chinese island of Hainan. The Sumei Skyline Coast Boutique Hotel was designed by GS Design. Framed by the hotel’s sculptural facade and cloister, a deep blue infinity pool integrates seamlessly with both sea and sky.
This white glowing villa on the Greek island of Paros rises above an olive grove, its minimalist architecture arranged around a poolside courtyard. Designed by Studio Seilern Architects, the villa’s long and narrow pool cantilevers towards the Aegean Sea. The inset base of the pool is clad with rustic mirrors, giving the appearance of a floating concrete slab.
8. B House
Designed by Architrend Architecture, B House replaces a demolished terrace house in the town of St. Julian, Malta. Flanked on either side by original structures, the home’s unexpected glass-fronted rooftop pool overlooks the Maltese coastline.
The Emiliano Hotel faces onto Rio de Janeiro’s famed Copacabana Beach. A project by Oppenheim Architecture + Design and Studio Arthur Casas, a rooftop pool edged in glass offers a unique perspective of Copacabana’s flurry of activity.
10. Alcove residential tower
This pool in the newly completed Alcove residential tower in Nashville, Tennessee, cantilevers out over a communal terrace space. Designed by Goettsch Partners, the plunge-style pool is the smaller of two swimming pools in the tower — its clear acrylic bottom will require a head for heights. Read more on the project here.