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.