Located on the magical Kiawah Island in South Carolina, this stunning outdoor swimming pool was the ‘brainchild’ of several minds – the family who owns the pool, the architects, contractor, pool designer, interior designer and Twinscape.
Already accustomed to enjoying leisure and social time in their private pool and spa at their full-time residence, the family wanted to have the pleasure of a swimming pool at their planned holiday home at Kiawah Island – the new property was being designed by architects Tyler A. Smyth and Chris Rose and built by Russ Cooper Associates. The broad brief was to design a property that maximises the potential of the beachfront and the enjoyment of the family.
Properties built on the oceanfront must be 14 feet above sea level. With the setback rules, this meant the space for a pool was compromised – a traditional pool would lead to a loss of deck space and the remaining space would then accommodate only a small pool, which would not have met the family’s aspirations. For the adults, they wanted a pool with a deep- end for swimming and playing pool games such as volleyball, and a shallow-end for the children (toddlers to 11 years of age) to swim comfortably.
How was the family and the architect going to tackle the unique challenges of the location alongside their desire to maximise the available space, and ensure that the pool depth reflected each family member’s needs?
Extensive online research led the family to the Hydrofloors Movable Floor System from Twinscape, which was an entirely new concept for them, and offered a solution to the unique design and space challenges they faced. A movable floor system enables a pool to be completely closed when it’s not in use. When the movable floor is lowered at the base of the pool, it allows for full-depth swimming and pool games and when raised to deck level, it provides a solid, load-bearing floor - voilà, the family has a multi-purpose space! A pool with a movable floor would allow the family to maximise the available space – swim and play games whenever they wish, then ‘put the pool away’ when they want to use the same space for other activity.
The family chose Twinscape as the prospective supplier from all the global manufacturers of such systems because it was the only movable floor that incorporated a ‘failed closed’ mechanism; an added security measure. In the event of the hydraulic system failing, the ballast system would force it to close, thereby rendering the pool safe until any issue presenting itself could be addressed.
The family shared the movable floor research with the project architect, Tyler Smyth, who investigated further, working in tandem with Russ Cooper Associates, the contractor that managed the purchasing process and coordinated the movable floor installation.
Smyth explained, “When we spoke with Hydrofloors, we peppered the team with questions about the feasibility and their capability of providing an effective movable floor system. I was reassured by their technical expertise, confidence and enthusiasm for the beachfront project. On appointment, we worked closely with their engineers on the specifications for the pool shell and related systems, and then developed the design. We determined the parameters for the tiled deck and other related components so these materials could be appropriately selected.”
Designed by pool contractor, Aqua Blue Pools, the elegant swimming pool has a beautiful bespoke tile deck on the movable pool floor, surrounded by a deck comprised of Ramon Grey stone material sourced from Israel. Contemporary furnishings and bronze rails play contrast to the solidity of natural lime based stucco and hand-carved stone column, newel, and trim material. The outdoor pool deck space, material selection and pool tile layout were designed by Denise Balassi, owner and head designer of Interior Consultants.
When handling a complex project incorporating new technology, the quality of the people working in the team is very important. Smyth continued, “We were pleased with the professionalism of the Hydrofloors and pool design and build teams; together we overcame a number of technical challenges, from the tight tolerances necessary for the pool shell to the railing, tile finish and lighting specifications.
“Hydrofloors delivered what was promised and we were glad to be the first to install a Hydrofloors system in the Western Hemisphere. We’ve heard only good things about the function of the movable floor since it was installed in 2012.”
This positive view is echoed by the pool owners, “It’s truly the best build decision we’ve made – if someone were to ask our advice on a movable floor, I’d tell them to go for it! Our pool was the first movable floor that Hydrofloors installed in the USA so it was a learning process for all involved, but we had no problems because Hydrofloors guided us and the team working on the installation through the entire process.
“The movable floor allowed us to meet our requirements in the space available and to maximise the deck space when the pools is not in use. We use the pool regularly, adjusting the height of the pool during each session depending on who is using it and what they want to do. Our kids love the pool, and we love that we can use both the pool and deck space separately. With the pool closed when no-one is swimming, we don’t have to worry about the kids being in the pool without our knowledge. This gives us peace of mind from a safety and liability aspect.”
Smyth sums it up perfectly, “Flexibility is the key advantage of the Hydrofloors movable floor system; it allows a client to have a substantial swimming pool while also enjoying increased floor space when required. And with very young children, they have confidence knowing that when the floor is raised, any safety risks are eliminated.
“In addition to these benefits, there is a huge element of surprise and delight when we present the concept to clients because movable floors are not commonly installed in pools here. These days we discuss the potential of using similar systems with current clients.”
“Before we began working with Twinscape, I peppered their team with questions about feasibility and capability of their Hydrofloors system and I was reassured by their expertise, confidence and enthusiasm. They delivered on all their promises and we were delighted to be the first to install Hydrofloors in the Western Hemisphere. Most importantly, we’ve heard only good things about the function of the movable floor since it was installed in 2012.”
“It’s truly the best build decision we’ve made – if someone were to ask our advice on installing a Hydrofloors movable floor, I’d tell them to go for it! “ - Owner, Kiawah Island
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