With summer in full swing, let's reflect on every architect's favourite pool - the Leça Swimming Pool by Álvaro Siza.
Completed in 1966, this project has continued to improve with age and has cemented itself as one of Siza’s best works from early in his career – for context, he didn’t win the Pritzker Prize until 1992, 26 years later.
Located in his birthplace, the Leça de Palmeira beaches north of Porto in Portugal, the project is a public swimming pool that is not too dissimilar from some of Australia’s amazing ocean pools, particularly those on the New South Wales coastline.
The project is beloved for its careful cohesion with the natural landscape, achieved through the considered incision of architectural elements throughout. The pools are nearly invisible from the road, further preserving a sense of the natural environment.
Attention to detail and the visitor's journey through the project was key for Siza, with the entry and exit experiences being unique to each other. The concrete colour was chosen a shade lighter than the natural stone to avoid standing out but also not matching perfectly. Each architectural wall was designed to be a height that blurs with the ocean just below it.
An enduring and beautiful project for both the local community and architecture enthusiasts around the world.