Pool Architecture
Pool Architecture
Pool Architecture
Pool Architecture

Le Mazel, France

Mark Saxton of Pool Architecture describes an unusual pool design project… “I was driving on the M4 one day when somebody telephoned me in my car. He said: ‘I’ve bought a house in France and I want a pool. Can you help?”

I told him that I ran a private syndicate in France for a group of friends who had together bought an old manor house, and that I had built a pool there for myself So I knew a little about French legislation relating to pool safety. I also knew some of the planning regulations.

What was interesting about this project was that I never saw the site and I never met the client. All our communication was long-distance. The client, Kent, started off by sending me some photographs and outline plans; from these, I could see that his projected boiler house was currently a wreck. Anyway, we prepared a few sketches, working with his existing structure. We laid it out; detailed it; obtained his approval. He then got together with his local plumber and pool contractor in France and they began the construction.

Every now and then I’d get calls from the site, and Kent would say that he had a pipe which could be installed in one of two places – what would I recommend? He sometimes telephoned me with the plumber standing next to him, asking for instant advice.

One of the challenges was that his local builders just wanted to do everything in the simplest, cheapest possible way, even when it really wasn’t appropriate. Kent needed a lot of specific technical advice about filters and pipes and pumps. He also needed advice regarding temperature control. The pool was an irregular shape making it impossible to use a standard pool cover. He wanted our advice on how best to insulate it. We researched alternatives and found a chemical which forms a thermal blanket over the pool when the water is still.

Another big issue was the boiler. We persuaded him to run the pool heating and the house heating off the same boiler. Why not? In the summer his boiler would heat the pool; in the winter it would heat the house. We did technical drawings for him showing how the valves could open and close automatically for this purpose. We also obtained for him the literature for the heat exchanger written in French, thus enabling his local technician to install it properly.

As I said, we never met. I never visited the site. I did maybe 50 hours of consultancy for him. Then, about a year later, I got an excited text message from Kent telling me to visit his website, lemazel.net. We looked it up – and there it was, the stylish pool we had designed.”