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These sleek poolside structures offer swimmers and sunbathers various levels of exposure to or protection from the elements. Walls of glass slide away for seamless indoor/outdoor flow while roof overhangs and flooring merge with the pool decking to further blur the line between pavilion and terrace.

Pool Plunge

A disappearing-edge pool and its pool house make the most of stunning vistas from a bluff overlooking Huntsville and offer year-round enjoyment of Alabama's mild seasons. Architect Alan Dynerman pushed the pool area to the far corner of the yard for two reasons: He doesn't think a pool should replace a backyard and he wanted the pool house to be a destination on the edge of the panorama. “It becomes an overlook to the city, and the water acts as a threshold to the view below,” says the architect. Three skylights run the width of the building, dividing the roof into four floating slabs. “The skylights make people aware of seasonal as well as hourly changes by the quality of light coming through,” he explains. A double-sided concrete fireplace heats up the pool house and the dining terrace on cool evenings, and a sauna provides a toasty place to unwind after a swim any day.

Builder: DF Chase, Nashville, Tenn.; Architect: Dynerman Architects, Washington, D.C.; Photographer: Robert Lautman.


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Photo: Thomas McConnell
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Photo: Thomas McConnell

Art Annex

The owners of a modern ranch house wanted to make their funky '50s pool a daily destination. This 600-square-foot pavilion with an office/guest bedroom and hanging space for their overflow art collection fills the bill. To protect the paintings from the searing Texas sun, the stucco art walls face the gentle north and east exposures. The building's rectangular core features a ribbon mahogany finish that wraps around a kitchenette and Murphy bed. Outside, the box is clad in galvanized steel that encloses the indoor/outdoor bathroom. Continuous clerestory windows, a cantilevered deck, and walls of sliding glass that meet at one corner accentuate the building's airy appearance.

Builder: MG Constructionworks, Austin, Texas; Architect: Steinbomer and Associates Architects, Austin; Pool builder: Mowry Custom Pools, Austin; Photographer: Thomas McConnell.


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Photo: Greg Wilson
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Photo: Greg Wilson

Layered Space

It only took Jonathan Parks, AIA, four trips to Sarasota, Fla.'s design board to convince them that this contemporary pavilion met historic guidelines. “The guidelines actually say that new structures should be contrasting in nature so that history isn't re-written,” he explains. This simple box, with a few twists that Parks likens to a piece of origami, definitely provides contrast with the owner's Craftsman-style bungalow. Although most people think of Florida as the ideal place for outdoor living, humidity, bugs, and big storms often send residents inside. Parks used a system of layers to give this 625-square-foot pool house the ability to be open to pool and courtyard or closed up enough to be the family's hurricane-safe house. Solid shutters bunker the house down during high winds or simply let a guest get a quiet night's sleep. When not in hurricane mode, 8-foot-tall glass doors do a total disappearing act by sliding into the stucco walls. Sheer curtains anchored by steel rods can be closed while the doors are open for both breeze and privacy.

Builder: David Bailey Inc., Sarasota, Fla.; Architect: Jonathan Parks Architect, Sarasota; Pool builder: All Star Pools, Sarasota; Photographer: Greg Wilson.