There’s always been a bit of tendency towards voyeurism in architecture. Somewhere along the line, you’re going to find an architect who gives you an upstairs corridor with a glass floor. Or a bathroom with a bathtub in a room full of clear glass. And less benignly, we invented the glass lift, where the occupants are as much enthralled with us on the outside as we are watching the glass box of travellers from without.
Brazilian architect Fernanda Marques has taken voyeurism to the next level with her internal fish bowl swimming pool. Swimmers in the pool at this renovated residence in São Paulo can be watched from the living room through the 8cm-thick glass panels bonded by a highly technical structural membrane. Whilst the swimming pool is in the courtyard of a duplex apartment in Villa Nova Conceição, the real action happens in the double height living room.
“Building the pool structure was the most challenging aspect of the project,” said Marques. “To achieve the result, a very thick imported glass was used, and specialised labour was required to install it.”
The 10m-long pool takes up 25 square metres of the outside courtyard and overlooks the stunning living room featuring marble walls and flooring and minimal, select pieces of furniture.“It was intended to be more than a leisure experience, but a poetic presence inside an art collector’s home,” said Marques.
The living room with its oversized windows enables a connection with the outside space, a lush garden. The mezzanine level houses the master bedroom, which not only overlooks the living room but has access to the pool itself. The bedroom has folding white panels which give the user an opportunity to close off the space as required. But the peak-a-boo nature of the space is replicated in other areas as well. One of the guest bedrooms has a wall, cut away in order to reveal the double height space of the living room beyond. On the lower level, you’ll find the dining room and kitchen. Whilst the second-floor houses a master bedroom, guest bedrooms, a gym and an office.
The house is filled with the owners’ Brazilian art collection. But even that required some thinking through. The aim was to keep the interior as pared back as possible, not only to showcase the current artworks but moreover to enable the owners to continue adding to their collection over time.