11 Incredible Pools, From the Olympic to the Spa-Sized

Zaha Hadid’s Olympic Aquatics Center.

We’re down to just eight days until the London Olympics, excitement over our favorite sport–swimming!–is reaching fever pitch. Can Michael Phelps defend his titles? Will 17-year-old Lia Neal make a name for herself as the team’s second-ever African American swimmer?

Even if you’re not a fan of the sport, the aquatic events at the Olympics are fun to watch, because host cities tend to pull out all the stops when it comes to designing the venues. Remember Beijing’s Watercube? This year’s aquatics center was designed by Iraqi-born, London-based architect Zaha Hadid, and it’s a doozy: sculptural concrete, an undulated, dysmorphic ceiling, and alien-like diving boards.

As far as we’re concerned, there’s a lot for both swim fans and architecture fans to be excited about. That’s why we’re holding a pool party with our friends Duravit next week. On wednesday evening, we’ll celebrate the Olympics with swim footage, Olympic trivia, and all-American summer treats! Duravit president Tim Schroeder will lead the evening’s festivities, which’ll take place in their appropriately-blue-themed Duravit showroom in Midtown.

We hope you’ll come out and join us on Wednesday. In the event you can’t make it, though, get into the aquatic spirit with eleven remarkable pool designs, after the jump!

1) Happy Magic Water Cube by Forrec Ltd in Beijing, China.

You know we had to start with another Olympic Venue! This Forrec-designed pool was known as the Cube during its competition days, but when the Beijing government converted it to a public water park, they gave it an even better name: Happy Magic!

2) The House Among Pines by Javier Peña Galiano, XPIRAL.

This private home in Murcia, Spain is all about detailing. Check out the edges of the infinity pool, embedded in a dark-wood deck.

3) TDA House by Cadaval & Solà-Morales in Oaxaca, Mexico.

We screamed “HAMMOCKS!” when we saw this home on the Mexico coast. Not only does the home have six permanent hammocks, the bedrooms open up to the pool.

4) Mumford Pool House by Jonathan Parks Architect.

There’s something to be said for a less-is-more approach to pools. This offering, from Jonathan parks, is simple and lovely.

5) Cubby House by edwards moore.

Here’s a cool home by Edwards More in Melbourne. Peaking out from above the facade of a pre-existing row house, the Cubby House looks out over a huge public pool. Even better than having your own?

6) Pool House by Michael Minadeo + Partners.

This timber-and-copper pool house is remarkably elegant–it opens up onto a simple pool in the Vermont woods.

7) Pool K by dmvA Architecten.

A pool for the minimalists amongst us, built above a 17th century estate.

8)  Aquaria Grande apartment towers by James Law Cybertecture.

This proposal for an amorphous residential in Mumbia would let balcony-goers float in solitude over the city.

9) Charma Spa by plan:b, Giancarlo Mazzanti.

It may be summer, but we had to include one or two indoor pools. We love this one in Colombia, whose alien-like steel arms offer free massages to swimmers.

10) Marina Bay Sands by Moshe Safdie.

When this Singapore hotel opened, images of its cantilevered infinity pool went viral online. Check out that view! The deck has also been host to base jumpers:

11) The Pool at Alfonso del Mar resort in Algarrobo Chile.

We just had to include the world’s largest swimming pool at a resort in Algarrobo, Chile. You can swim laps for miles (literally) in the pool. The resort’s owners use filtered and re-circulated sea water to fill the massive space.