As always, it gives me great pride to roll out this year’s Aquatics International Dream Designs. Our annual showcase recognizes some of the best aquatics venues in the world, recognizing all types, from community pools to resort waterscapes to full-scale destination waterparks.
This year, a number of the honorees were renovations of pools built decades ago and rendered outdated, not only because of their age but their basic design. These towns thought it beneficial to their citizens to offer multiuse facilities that entertain youngsters, provide temporary escape from adulting for the working grown-ups, and help those in need of therapy or swim instruction.
These facilities make clear the physical and spiritual value that people continue to place on water in its various forms, but also that multi-feature, multiuse aquatics centers are now a given — a starting point when approaching the drawing board.
But taking these venues to the top of their field is the artful juggling of function with form. These designers appeal to the emotional, whether it by including elements that tie into the community’s historical industries, paying tribute to local swimming heroes or just using bright colors to motivate competitive swimmers and add excitement to a visitor’s day. It’s not an easy task to evolve past the institutional in these settings, especially given building and safety codes and budgetary pressures. But these designers find creative ways to capture the local spirit, representing rivers and valleys, mountains and even colorful reflections on a lake, through literal renderings or more abstract forms and textures.
For the resorts featured on these pages, designers had to walk another fine line — how to balance the need for entertainment and excitement while maintaining the elegance of ultra-high end lodging? Here, they employ nuance in the extreme, closely modulating scale and color, and drafting forms at once bold and elegant to manipulate light. The fact that these skills are less obvious only makes them more impressive.
But enough musing — these venues speak for themselves. Enjoy your look through these fine creations.