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A veritable block of water

Australian designers at Aquatonic make dream pools come true.

Seemingly endless stretches of sandy beaches, a subtropical climate and ocean views that extend into the far horizons. Life really is a beach for residents of the Australian state of Queensland’s second most populous municipality, the Gold Coast. But because tourists also populate the beaches in great numbers, making this region the most highly frequented vacation hotspot anywhere in the country, private swimming pools are a popular alternative.

A truly eye-catching pool

And Queensland has a lot of them. 17 percent of households in the state have their own pool. And this trend has been around for decades. Many of those pools are in need of overhauling or modernization — as was one perched on a high-rise on the Gold Coast. As part of a complete makeover of the penthouse, the pool it now features looks something akin to a block of water that has been carved out of the ocean and installed on the roof. The design of this pool emphasizes its purpose not only as a source of restorative bodily refreshment but also as a visually appealing feature.

A mega crane goes the distance

“The biggest challenge of this ­project was its elevation onto the 27th floor,” explains Marco Giaroli, Managing Director of Aquatonic, the architectural and design firm responsible for its realization. But Giaroli and his partner, Ben Gepp, are experts in water structures and have been working on projects with ­PLEXIGLAS® for many years.

A 130-ton crane, the biggest one available in the region, was used to convey the three huge pool panels (each weighing up to 1.1 metric tons) to the high-rise penthouse. The PLEXIGLAS® panels (the biggest of which measure 7 x 1.4 meters x 85 mm) plus a concrete wall at one end have now been combined to create a rectangular tub with a surface measuring 27 square meters. At first glance, the water it contains does not appear to be held in place by any visible construction. Combined with a panoramic view of the ocean beyond, the visual effect is truly spectacular.

The pool with a magnificent view – even underwater

A distortion-free view

PLEXIGLAS® is the ideal material for this design, it is much clearer than glass, which tends to look green.

Marco Giaroli
Managing Director of the architectural and design firm Aquatonic

“PLEXIGLAS® is the ideal material for this design,” says Giaroli. “It is much clearer than glass, which tends to look green.” Another advantage: “Because PLEXIGLAS® has the same light refraction index as water, people in the pool may seem to be somewhat removed from their actual positions, but they do not appear in any way distorted to the eye of the beholder and colors remain true to life,” adds Giaroli.