When a client approached architect Manuel Ocaña to spruce up his backyard pool, he issued an enormous design challenge. The client’s once-idyllic infinity pool had lost its gorgeous sunset view, now marred by a giant, imposing concrete block wall. Ocaña’s team was charged with the dubious task of creating a new environment for the pool, including a view that might rival that of an actual sunset. Read on to see the magic happen.
The Spanish architect’s challenge was deceptively simple on the surface: transform the private garden’s blighted view into a magical retreat. Prior to tapping Ocaña, the homeowners had struggled with a variety of approaches for softening the stark, grey wall, and abandoned each of those projects along the way. Plans for a living green wall had already been tossed aside, as the homeowner wouldn’t be satisfied with a wall of a different color. Something much more spectacular would have to come along in order to salvage the pool’s previous peaceful atmosphere. Once that mission was realized, and embraced, things got decidedly wild.
Ocaña’s proposal surmounts countless challenges with an out-of-the box approach to creating a new atmosphere around the pool area. As if in memoriam of the lost sunset view, the architect proposes an arrangement of round mirrors positioned at various heights and angles, in order to capture and reflect the sun at different times of the day. Behind the mirror array, diverse vegetation would create a soft, lush barrier to shield the offending grey wall.
In order to pull off such an outlandish renovation, Ocaña’s design had to meet some difficult criteria. Because the concrete wall belongs not to the homeowners but to their neighbors, the new design had to stand independent from the wall, rather than rely on it as a building surface. Additionally, there were other considerations to accommodate, such as existing plants, the pool itself, and a stairway leading to the home’s basement. Hilariously, if those challenges were not enough, the entire structure also had to be modular because, in order to get it into the pool area in the first place, the elements had to be carried through a regular-sized door.
So, the final design is comprised of 33 individual modules, which will be assembled to create a forked scaffolding that will also support a network of 60 nebulizers, which spray a mist of water into the air, creating ‘clouds.’ The forks allow the plants to overflow the scaffolding where they please, eventually hiding the bones of the structure and lending to the private microclimate created in this backyard oasis.
Images via Imagen Subliminal for Manuel Ocaña