Sky Condos

I don’t often post conceptual work, but I find this design so intriguing and thoughtful, challenging the expected. Planned for a site in Lima, Peru, each apartment in the 20 floor structure boasts an outdoor terrace and  incredible cantilevered swimming pool. Yes, you read that right. Twenty stories up in the clouds imagine yourself swimming, hanging over the city below. The design offers not only these unique amenities and quality of life features, but also creates a sculptural and dynamic visual icon in the skyline. I vote for breaking ground.

“We believe that an apartment shouldn’t lack exterior spaces; this is why our main space in each apartment is the exterior public area which contains the pool and a series of terraces that bring dynamism to the whole tower. These terraces fill the apartment with natural light and create a game of lights and shadows. The facade is mainly transparent allowing the integration of the building to the exterior; generating crossed ventilation and natural lighting in all the spaces without sacrificing the privacy inside the apartments. The floor plan is open looking for a transparency…and generating the sensation that the apartments are suspended.”

Images and excerpts sourced at the architects website:  DCPParquitectos

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Take the Plunge

It’s been a hot and steamy week in many parts of the country. It certainly was here in Chicago. With widespread power outages, one of the only sources of relief has been the water. I found myself dreaming of a pool of my own. It seemed unlikely, given the constraints of space and budget. Yet, when looking at the problem with some creativity, I realize a pool can be defined in numerous ways. Not everyone needs to swim laps to enjoy the refreshment of a dip in the cool water. And, in the case of this ‘plunge pool’, the view sustains interest for an extended and leisurely visit to the lagoon.

Sparks Architects designed this home, conceived as an opportunity to explore the ideas of sustainable design on a modest budget. You see, the ‘plunge pool’ utilizes the same prefabricated vessel used for the rainwater containment system. Brilliant! Not only is it a beautiful pool solution, in this case the benefits of these tanks go much deeper. The precast concrete rainwater tanks provide thermal massing, with the walls of the tanks being incorporated into the studio, ensuite and cellar spaces of the lower floor of the home.

The footprint of the home is minimal and efficient. Constructed from nine prefabricated modules, it incorporates solar panels, passive heating and cooling, and rainwater harvesting. The section drawing below describes the sustainable design elements. The last image takes a slice through the building looking in detail at one of the nine prefabricated modules. The home lives large because of the consideration taken for optimal light, views and open, contiguous space.


Images and excerpts sourced at Sparks Architects
For the refreshing plunge pool source, I thank you Tyler.


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The unexpected. A new perspective. An opportunity to experience a common occurrence with fresh eyes. This swimming pool, deceivingly expected from the upper level, offers a surprise worth the trip down the stairs. Sure, we’ve all enjoyed this perspective while visiting an exhibit at the aquarium or zoo; a polar bear or dolphin enjoying the thrill of experience immersed in the water. But taking this design expression to a personal human level is interesting. There is a feeling of alone-ness and privacy under the water. An absence of perceptible sound, and at greater depths, of available light. I find this viewing window incredibly intriguing. It creates an opportunity to see movement much like one would experience dance, and provides an unexpected adventure to the observer and swimmer alike.  I applaud the creative approach given to the design of taking a dip in the pool, to cause me to pause and reflect. It’s looking with fresh eyes at our everyday, designing our typical activities, environments and experiences in such a way that they provide a source energy and a new perspective.  Come on. Try it. Go forth and look anew!

Image sourced at

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