Natural pool on the rock by

2024 Private Gardens / Switzerland / Built in 2019 /

Located in Canton Ticino, on the hills overlooking the Lugano lake, comes and arises a fascinating architecture immersed in the woods, where its garden seemed to be awaiting for a harmonious element to blend it into its surrounding. The story behind this project is an invitation to dive into the sacred spaces a garden can offer. Through the natural pool realized, a solution is implemented to rediscover the charm of the passing time while blending into the adjoining landscape elements and embracing their value. Here the pool becomes the landscape itself!

The client’s desire was to have a pool in the garden, however wanted a natural effect to match the wooded context it is located in. During the first site visit, while walking through the open space, a strong sensation came across as soon as our eyes laid on the base the house was positioned on. A majestic element was revealed to us coming out from the modern built structure, stating its presence into the space. This element was ‘The rock’. We immediately realized that this was a call to where the pool should be located. We then thought about the realization of a natural swimming pool to match the uniqueness of the space. The exact words used by our Studio owner were ‘The rock could be the protagonist to the pool… after all, in nature, water features are often found at the bottom of rock formations’. The placement was immediately approved and the water pond was realized in line with the modern flat architecture placed on the historic rock and mirrored in the pure water. The whole effect transformed the garden into a gem in the woods.

The structure
Natural pools are small aquatic ecosystems. They can be built using diverse levels of technology depending on the client’s needs. The elements that are present to guarantee a correct water filtration are:
– the bathing area: is the deeper and accessible zone of the pool for swimming activities;
– the regeneration area: is up to 50 cm deep, contains gravel and zeolites as a biological filter, and aquatic plants that play the role of phytodepuration of the water. Due to this area, the water heats up more easily and reaches a temperature higher than a traditional swimming pool, increasing the bathing times;
– the cascade: ensures the oxygenation of the water, its movements and improves its quality.

A garden in The garden

The water
The bio-pool realized is of 140 m2 and 68 m2 of it is reserved for swimming, while the rest qualifies as a regeneration area for aquatic vegetation and stepping stone passages to connect with the rest of the garden. When it comes to the cascade, the natural rock was the element used to create this effect. It acts like a waterfall, where the water caresses the rough texture to fall back into the plain surface.

The aquatic garden, a biodiversity
Assigning aquatic vegetation to a natural pool involves bringing a micro garden to life as a border to the water feature. For that, various typologies of plants are used. Starting with the swampy plants whose main function is the phytodepuration, we have Iris pseudacorus and Typha laxmannii. Other swampy plants that are found at the border are Rudbeckia fulgida which gives a light orange color to the green palette, and Mentha cervina which brings a strong perfume to the area, are mainly used as ornamental plants. Juncus and Equisetum hyemale on the other hand, are evergreen plants sited next to the Lythrum salicaria in bloom all summer. Couple of grasses are positioned as well such as Chasmantium latifolim and Spartina pectinata. Where the water becomes a little deep, aquatic plants for an even more ornamental aspect appear: the Nymphaea in its four varieties with Nelumbo nucifera cover the water surface with a carpet of leaves, where emerges from it pink and fuchsia flowers.

Regarding the night scenery to light the waterbody, groups of 5 lamps called ‘Syphasera’ are placed at different heights, between the vegetation border to become part of it. They are shaped like the Typha plant. They transform the space into a magical performance in the dark.

Landscape & natural pool
‘It is a total immersion in nature that recalls childhood memories, when we used to bathe in rivers or play in randomly found ponds in a forest’, said the client.

The overall appearance arouses countless emotions. There is a sense of experiencing diverse landscapes into one: a river through the gravel bottom, path markers and large stones to dive from or pass over. The bank of a lake, by the wooden deck for sunbathing. A waterfall in the woods, by the cascade with its gurgling relaxing melody from the rock into the water. It is an atmosphere that bring together the touch of plants, the delightful perfume, the sound of water and the view of the dragonflies attracted by the pond’s natural colour in continuity with the whole. The place is like a scene from a movie: its components change through seasons and time, bringing new visions at each stage.

Other landscape architecture offices involved in the design of landscape: Piscine&Natura

Other offices involved in the design: Maurizio Quargnale, light designer

Photographer: Rosanna Castrini

Location: Lugano, Switzerland

Design year: 2017

Year Completed: 2019


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