Underground Spa

To use contrast as a visual device can be very rewarding, especially when minimalism is cleverly applied. A 19th century mansion, in the city of Limerick in Ireland, was set to remain untouched, but a green card was given to architect Carmody Groarke to create a bespoke private space for relaxation and exercise. The end result is a striking underground pool with strong geometric lines, a gymnasium and a sauna; a true white haven in opposition to the classic colours on the outer shell.

Not only does the pool dominate the room beautifully, but it serves as a surreal mirror to the fractal-like elements in the roof. It achieves a stimulating sense of rhythm in contrast to the placid state of water; yet another contrast in action. The lighting project blends artificial and daylight seamlessly. Such visual compositions not only conceals all the mechanisms, but offers a sculptural quality to the pool house.

Last but not least, praise is due to the exquisite photography by Christian Richter. The captures not only translate the central idea of the project, but also create stand-alone pieces worthy of editorial treatment. Even though it is not strictly black and white photography, Richters applied the same logic; resulting in an enticing collection of opposing compositions.

Photography by Christian Richter.