A View from the Edge: Infinity Edge Pools

Pool designs can go beyond simple shapes like circles and squares by incorporating the surrounding landscape and horizon for a spectacular view. The best example of this kind of design are infinity edge pools! Although you’ve probably seen many social media travelers or “influencers” frolicking in infinity edge pools at exotic resorts, you can incorporate this design in any space with a view! Let’s start with a brief history of how this infinity edge pool design came to be before discussing design.

Photo courtesy of Build Red Rock

Although it is subject to debate, many think that the original infinity edge pool design came about in late 17th century France. The Stag Fountain at the Palace of Versailles includes a vanishing edge in its structure along with striking animal and human sculptures that accentuate the fountains among them.

Photo courtesy of Houzz

Palatial water features are steeped in history, to be sure, but what about infinity edge pools in a less grandiose setting like a residence? In the 1960s, John Lautner is credited with bringing infinity edge pool designs to America. Lautner was an architect who started with an apprenticeship under Frank Llyod Wright, a heavily influential architect famous for his work with concrete and glass materials. Lautner learned his trade well and began designing homes with his practice in the late 1930s. He included infinity pools in various residential projects, like the home nicknamed “Silvertop” (shown above) in Los Angeles. The edge ties into the amazing hillside landscapes beneath the house!

Infinity edge pools even make it to the movies, as Lautner also created the vanishing-edge pool in the 1971 James Bond movie, Diamonds are Forever. The pool and the house were drafted and constructed for Arthur Elrod, an interior designer at that time.

Mother Nature: Often Imitated, Never Replicated

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Yet, there are even earlier examples of infinity edge pools pre-dating monarchs and movie stars. The natural pools created by mother nature seem to be the most captivating, and for a good reason. Consider the Pamukkale, or “cotton castle,” natural site near Denizli, Turkey. The area is famous for the brilliantly white limestone minerals deposited by flowing thermal spring water, hence the name. The minerals dripped slowly down the mountainside over the centuries and cascaded down to the pools and terraces below. It is a spectacle that can be seen almost thirteen miles away from the opposite side of the valley in the town of Denizli.

So how is an infinity edge pool constructed? Since the designs can be a bit precarious when placed on hills or slopes, structural engineering is the most critical and likely the costliest aspect. Proper investment and care in the foundation will ensure that melding the view beyond the edge is done safely and effectively. The “edge” of the pool typically terminates at a weir lower than the defined wall that the water runs toward. Think of a weir like a small dam that can allow proper water flow over the edge into a catch basin or trough below. From here, the water is pumped back up through valves into the pool for re-circulation.

Infinity Edge Pools in Your Future?

Do you like the designs and the soothing blend of the water’s edge to the horizon? Leave a comment below or share some inspirational pictures about infinity edge pools that you find fascinating. BioNova has designed many breathtaking pools, and we’d like to discuss your vision for a natural swimming pool at your residence. Reach out to us today to discuss your design choices and pre-construction planning agreement, or download our free Definitive Guide to Natural Swimming Pools if you have more questions!

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