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5 Modern Pavilions and Pool Houses Prove That Less is More
With glass walls and a streamlined sensibility that direct focus toward the view, minimalism can be a natural fit for outdoor structures
Many of the traits that define modern architecture — large expanses of glass, minimal surface articulation, exposed structure (often steel), flat roofs — keep people from considering a residence in such a style. The glass makes many people feel exposed, minimalism is at odds with the clutter that life usually entails, and the steel structure and flat roofs are the antithesis of traditional dwellings, what many people associate with “home.”
Yet these same qualities make modernism appropriate for small pavilions, be they pool houses or other similar structures. The examples in this ideabook tend towards the former, but they all show how modern architecture can be more tolerable to a larger audience in small doses.
By Steinbomer, Bramwell & Vrazel, the Tarrytown Pavilion is located on the property of a midcentury-modern house. It serves as a pool house and also as an office, a gallery and a guesthouse. From this perspective, the main features of the structure are evident: L-shape white walls, glass walls opening toward the pool and a floating flat roof perched upon an off-center core.
The corner of the glass walls opens to unite inside and outside. It’s also clear that the white walls serve as a backdrop for artwork. I like how the patio cantilevers over the lawn.
Even though the pavilion serves multiple purposes, the interior spaces are basically two: a larger space and smaller space on either side of the kitchen/bathroom core.
The sliding glass walls create a strong visual connection to the house as well as to the trees that line the property. Sunlight is cut down by the deep overhang. All of it combines to make this a pleasant place to relax.
Here is another pool pavilion, called Sister’s Retreat because it serves the families of two sisters on a 7.5-acre property near Austin, along with their houses. Designed by Mell Lawrence Architects, the retreat is made up of two bars, one enclosed, one exposed.
The exposed bar includes the pool and a patio, both covered by a trellis, which serves as an armature for lighting and plants. The enclosed bar runs parallel and is seen in the distance.
The enclosed bar, which includes a living area, a game room, a BBQ area and a bathroom/shower for the pool, opens up to the pool area through large glass doors.
Uniting the whole retreat is a grid of square concrete columns. Cast with rough horizontal formwork, these columns — really shells for the steel columns that support the trellis and roof — define the spaces and give the project its character.
This is a pool house that is not technically distinct from the main house, but it is so different in terms of design that it might as well be. Whereas the house is brick with an angular roof, this area is all bamboo and wood.
Bamboo serves as wall and trellis to provide shade on different levels next to the pool. Along with the wood walls, it creates an inviting and enclosing space with a strong, almost tropical character.