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Is This Quarry the Most Beautiful Pool in America?

Article by: Camila | Source: idesignarch

I must say: I'm addictive to Pinterest, and I've seen many gorgeous swimming pools in there, as well as in many architecture magazines. But I've never seen anything like this one:

The pool is built into a Berkshires limestone quarry on the grounds of a private estate Sheffield, Massachusetts, on about 50 acres owned by Joel Goldstein, the president of Mercedes Distribution Co. (no, not that Mercedes). But Goldstein didn't actually dream up and build the pool. I've learned the background story by talking to Michael Giannamore, the vice president of Aqua Pool & Patio, whose Connecticut-based family business built the pool.

Featuring a depth of 3 feet to 7 feet and a 16-foot cascading waterfall the pool measures 40 feet, part of the secluded property located deep in the woods in a manner that preserved the landscape’s natural beauty. Goldstein greatly improved and beautified the property, but the transformation of the quarry into a pool was the previous owner's project. The property is "buried in the woods," Giannamore said, and she bought it expressly because of the quarry, where she wanted a "swimming hole." She imposed no budget whatsoever, but she wanted the quarry as intact as possible. That ruled out "the most logical and predictable" solution, Giannamore said: concrete blocks lined with gunite (basically, cement sprayed from a firehose, he said), then covered with limestone to match.

That meant a degree of uncertainty probably never experienced by Aqua Pool before or since: The designers had no idea whether the pool would hold water. They had to leave the quarry's three existing walls entirely untouched, and in the floor they were allowed only to jackhammer two trenches for cleaning nozzles. "Weren't there cracks in the limestone?" you may ask. According to Giannamore, yes, there were, and they were big! For all they knew, the water would immediately leak out when they finished the job and filled the pool, but the owner was OK with the risk, so they went ahead.

The finished pool is about 15,000 gallons, measuring roughly 20 by 40 feet, and deepening from about 3 feet at its shallowest to about 7 feet. The accompanying house, which Goldstein expanded from a simple poolhouse into a weekend home, is about 3,500 square feet.

So how's the quarry pool doing at holding water in the 15 years since Aqua Pool broke ground? "Better than most swimming pools," Giannamore says. "It holds water perfectly." Evaporation isn't a big problem, either, but it is a "service struggle, because you can't cover the pool for the winter (a cover manufacturer laughed at him when he asked). So every year it fills with leaves and debris, requiring a power wash after the pool is drained; then it's filled up with chlorinated water for a new swim season.

By now we're sure you're wondering, as I was, the obvious question: what's the price tag on one of those. But unfortunately all you will get from Giannamore is: "A lot". And it's "better-looking in person than any video you'll see."

Is this the most beautiful backyard pool in America? I think it might just be. And we've seen plenty of spectacular pools in our beloved Miami. But if I'm wrong, let me know in the comments!

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