Secluded Poolhouse

OVERLOOKING THE COAST of the Pacific Northwest, this steel and glass conservatory is partially buried in the landscape, encloses a swimming pool, and is Zen-like in its simplicity. The vision for this conservatory originated with the owners and stemmed from their fascination with early glasshouse architecture, which utilized and pushed the boundaries of nineteenth-century engineering.

The owners wished to pay homage to those Victorian-era marvels; the first buildings to use new materials made available by the Industrial Revolution in Europe. Fanciful, idealistic, and energetic, those ambitious conservatories serve as inspiration now in a time similarly fixed on advanced technologies.

The resulting design, shown here, recalls the steel exoskeleton utilized at the Schönbrunn Palace palm house in Vienna. The articulated trusses suspend a delicate glass skin underneath and allow the smooth uninterrupted interior surface to reflect the meditative space inside.