Pooled Resources

These magnificent private pools give us a glimpse into the evolution of the traditional outdoor swimming pool. Set into the landscape as though naturally intended, the architects responsible for these works of art have added a unique dimension that literally elevates their aesthetic appeal: height. Beautiful to behold, these raised pools add stature and sleekness to the property, and offer a cool setting for rest and reflection. This photo essay from Dwell showcases some extraordinary designs.

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Our Gardens, Ourselves

New York-based interior designer Charlotte Moss, also an avid gardener, describes her technique in creating memorable and inspiring outdoor oases. “Atmosphere, an ephemeral quality, is the perfume of a place,” she writes. In a garden, that atmosphere is shaped not only by the living landscape, but by the story it weaves for us as we move through it. Interconnectedness, Moss insists, is what we instinctively crave in our surroundings. In our gardens as in our homes, we define a space and give it meaning through the choices we make in its design. Her book, Garden Inspirations, is a collection of insights into this process.

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The Heights of Past Wonders

Taking the theme of the blending of past and present even further, a newly proposed project to build a skyscraper in Cairo, Egypt aims to reflect the majesty of the ancient pyramids of Giza by mimicking their shape and structure in modern material. The architect’s plan is to build a 49-storey building composed of two distinct pyramids, one tall and one short — an homage to the enduring beauty of the historic pyramids, 30 miles down the road from the development site. Dezeen magazine shows us the designs for what will be the country’s tallest building, an expression of reverence for the wonders of the past.

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Opposites Attract

When a space can hold opposites — soft and sharp, vivid alongside muted, ornate next to natural — each item is illuminated with new life in the collection. What better way to showcase a vintage (or a modern piece) than by placing it beside something completely unlike it? It’s no surprise that opposites attract, as Suzanne and Lauren McGrath highlight for us in their design blog. Rather than contradicting one another, pieces from different periods gain new prominence when joined. A boldly patterned rug under an antique gilt mirror or a Queen Anne chair near a contemporary sculpture, for example, makes the eclectic feel like home.

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Modern History

In this fantastic architectural feat, the inherited history of a neo-classical building from the 1930s in Tel Aviv, Israel has been honored with a facelift that preserves its past. The dwelling’s original features have been beautifully augmented by sleek, modern details in a way that feels inspired rather than imposed. The result is “a world full of contrasts and tensions” that illustrates the latent harmony between old and new, and “raw and ornamental” — a space at once rich with history and open to the future. Contemporist gives us an intimate look inside.

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Pride of Place

The first woman ever licensed to practice architecture in California, Julia Morgan was a pioneer on many fronts. Esteemed for her skill in utilizing materials from the natural environment to create facades and interiors that merged elegance and function in her signature Arts & Crafts style, Morgan was also a bold advocate for expanding the scope of communal spaces to better accommodate the needs and burgeoning identities of women in urban society in the first decades of the 20th century.

She introduced new ways to combine style with utility in the construction of boarding houses, community centers and city clubs. Morgan is responsible for the design of 700 buildings including the YWCA of Oakland and many of its local chapters throughout California, as well as the renowned San Simeon’s Hearst Castle. This essay from Curbed pays homage to the innovative talents of Julia Morgan.

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Art of Preservation

Residents of Vancouver’s waterfront were watching the worrying rate of the ocean’s destructive capacity on the shoreline along which they lived. Architect Paul Sangha proposed a solution that capitalizes on the sustainability inherent in the environment itself, by adopting natural materials and mimicking their forms to bolster the physical integrity of the land. Sangha took the example of nature itself to create a beautiful solution. Made from corten steel, the abstract shapes of these pieces are designed to dissipate the force of the waves that strike the bank, and also create recesses where plants can grow and further help fortify the land against erosion. Contemporist takes a broader look at the scope of this project.

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Elevated Reality

Not so long ago, the elevated cargo train tracks that span over 30 NYC blocks, from the Meatpacking District to Midtown, were in a desperately neglected state. Today, the final section of this gloriously restored historic landmark — the famous High Line park — is open to the public. Parts of the old railway have been restored and modified, and combined with modern, clean adaptations of the same materials to create a unique and welcoming respite from the city on the streets. Native wildflowers and grasses and many types of birds mingle with the architecture along these landscaped 1.5 miles — an homage to the many manifestations of life in this neck of the woods.

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Surface of the Center

The Graduate Center of the California College of the Arts in San Francisco has enjoyed an expansion of late, growing to twice its original size through the minimalist, functionalist additions of the Jensen Architects group. Two steel structures linked by an inner court are home to offices, studios, exhibition spaces and classrooms, and are enveloped by a modern aluminum-mesh scrim that exemplifies the porous border between the buildings’ façade and its urban surroundings. Redolent of the industrial history of the neighborhood in which it sits, the extensions to the Graduate Center represent a sleek melding of form and function..

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New Neutrals

Nothing invites peace and quiet more than a room devoted to neutral hues — grey, white and flax — and a supple mingling of texture. In this Anthropologie blog, we are introduced to a space that is at once serene and sophisticated, crisp and subdued but also warm. A subtle palette also allows the smallest pop of another color to speak volumes and confer great meaning — in this case, a brown lion and a blue camel wait on wooden shelves for the newest little member of a family.

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