What if you could design a pool through the eyes of a 6-year-old? There may be one depth to splash around in and another in which to dive for treasure at the bottom. It would be the perfect temperature all year round. The walls would be transparent so you could see out from underwater. And, of course, there would be cartoons.
The average age of the team at Victor Mark Donaldson Architects (VMDA) is a few decades older than 6, but that didn’t limit their creativity when it came to dreaming up the ideal pool for a slopeside home in Beaver Creek. The client wanted something that could be enjoyed by all of his guests, from imaginative grandkids to mature business associates. Since pools aren’t known for their versatility, a unique approach was in order.
VMDA led a collaborative effort of ideas and application, working closely with the client, engineers, audio/visual teams, pool professionals, and contractors to create a water feature that’s nothing less than spectacular. The 10-foot-by-13-foot pool is integrated into both the home’s interior and exterior and, with a unique movable floor, is adaptable to different uses.
With the push of a button, the quartzite tile floor can be adjusted to any desired depth, up to 10 feet. Raise the floor to its maximum height, and it covers the water surface completely, melding into the surrounding outdoor patio decking. Lower it by 30 inches or so and, voilà: there’s a splash pool for those learning to swim. Drop the floor to its base, and the pool becomes a 10-foot-deep swimming and plunge hole, complete with an automated current for lap swimmers.
From the patio, the pool appears to have typical, in-ground construction. But when the floor is in its lowest position, another magical touch reveals itself. Thanks to five-inch-thick clear acrylic walls, the pool is like a human fishbowl. On one side, the acrylic wall serves as a window between the pool and the media room. On the opposite side, the wall protects a 7-by-11-foot modular LED television.
While the TV and an underwater speaker system are primarily for the enjoyment of swimmers, it’s those in the media room who determine the ambience. Someone with dark humor might cue up Jaws. Those with a softer touch can pull up cartoons and party music. Just watching the swimmers can be entertainment in itself, but when it’s time for film watching in the media room, a blackout screen unfurls to block the bright Colorado sunshine that filters through the pool and a movie screen rolls down.
The pool, which was finished in fall 2016, took 16 months to complete. But for the homeowners, the exceptional features and the time it took to implement them have an invaluable payoff: bringing pure delight to family and friends.
Design Lead: Victor Mark Donaldson Architects (Avon); Contractor: Wayne Haskins Construction (Eagle); Additional Pool Design and Build: Colorado Pool and Spa Scapes (Glenwood Springs); Engineer: Martin/Martin (Avon)