GASS pool pavilion, Stellenbosch

Take the plunge

A sparing pool pavilion that takes little and gives loads.

While you’re mourning the loss of the beaches and waterways, we offer up a major dose of eye candy in the form of this swimming pool pavilion by GASS Architecture Studios and Nina Erasmus Architecture and Interior. Located on a private farm near Stellenbosch, the space was designed to complement the surrounding views. 

Dedicated to the pursuit of leisure, the pavilion encompasses an entertainment area, a gym and a sauna and of course the long swimming pool with views to kill for.  With the intention of reducing unnecessary visual noise, a bare bones structure was created, elegantly finished but sparing in its aesthetic. 

Comprising a basic rectangle, with clean lined apertures for windows and vast openings connecting the landscape with the building interior, the pavilion takes little away from its context. By repeating the wide entrance with its sliding pocket doors at the back of the pavilion, the line between indoors and out is blurred; all that’s left is the landscape. From the poolside, the view through the pavilion and out the other side to the vineyards is revered, framed like a precious artwork.  

In order to retain this sense of simplicity, the joinery, furniture and materials follow suit, with the latter consisting of only brick paving and smooth plastered walls. The brick floors run from the patio outside and continue indoors, even into the sauna, with a sense of harmony gained from the repetition.

But achieving simplicity is seldom a simple process. The details are everything here – the raw brick pavers run the length of the building, echoing its principal lines and the plastered walls are pristine in their exactitude, painted crisp white in sharp contrast with the floors. Further contrast has been introduced in the sauna, where organically curved benches of dark stained timber offset the pavilion’s linear language; here, a timber door handle has been custom designed to match.

When both doors are pulled back and concealed within the wall cavity, the building serves as an open shelter, a modern platform for viewing pleasure and a versatile entertainment space. By keeping form and material use to a minimum, the landscape is celebrated.

Words Mila Crewe-Brown
Production JP de la Chaumette
Photographs David Ross

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