A Regal Pool Pavilion Designed For Muggy Mid-Atlantic Summers.
Architect Wayne Good designed a pool pavilion for this 100-acre estate that is formal in appearance but casual in function. The brick structure replicates the existing house’s Georgian architecture, but with a more relaxed feel and an easy connection to the verdant grounds. The owners mainly come here in the summer, so Good designed the pavilion as an oasis of cool shade, breezy cross ventilation, and panoramic vistas. “I wanted you to be able to sit comfortably in the pavilion … even in August … and enjoy 360-degree views,” he says.
The estate, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, is bordered on two sides by tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay. Finding a location for the pavilion with multiple water views was key. A natural clearing on a small rise about halfway between the main house and a boat dock fit the bill. A brick walkway extends 75 feet linking the kitchen to the pool pavilion. “It’s just far enough from the house that you feel like you’re someplace special,” Good explains, “but close enough to run back to the kitchen to grab something.”
Good, who also renovated and restored the main house, looked to the home’s original style for design cues. “Georgian details like flat jack arches, oculus windows, a brick water table line, and a gauged brick belt course relate to the house,” says Good. “I simplified the architecture of the pavilion, however, to give it its own sensibility.” A perfect 20-foot cube topped by an open pyramid creates a clean yet graceful shape. Three big archways along each side frame views in all directions. The homeowners can look across the pool and watch the sunset over Leeds Creek or see boats coming in from the bay as they sail along the Miles River to the northeast. The other two viewpoints offer scenes of blooming crepe myrtles along the brick walkway back to the kitchen or an elegant allée leading to the boathouse.
Relating to the water—both natural and manmade—required more contemporary techniques. The square brick columns along the pavilion’s northwest façade meet the edge of the linear pool, so guests can step from one of the archways directly into the water. (This lets them avoid the hot pool deck.) Bringing the pool up against the pavilion also produces a striking visual connection to the creek. “We made the pool a darker color to reflect those natural bodies of water on two sides,” says landscape architect Jay Graham. “Proportions of the pool are narrower and longer, which makes it more dramatic and also mimics the creek.”
At 18 feet wide, the pool is nearly the same width as the pavilion but reaches 50 feet long. A dark gray plaster finish boosts the water’s reflective quality. Graham balanced the pool’s contemporary form by doing a traditional brick deck with a herringbone butt joint that hearkens back to the region’s colonial roots.
Maintaining the estate’s classical style and preserving the pavilion’s open feel meant keeping modern necessities out of sight. A sink and a concealed refrigerator are housed in a bank of painted wood cabinets with a limestone countertop. At the end of the cabinets, a wide staircase leads down to subterranean bathrooms and dressing areas. Good says building a basement so close to the water was quite a challenge. They pumped water out continuously during excavation and then poured in a solid concrete shell. The effort was worthwhile, though. Even on the muggiest summer day, Good says, the pavilion’s exposed pyramid ceiling, oversized arches, and location all work to create a vortex of cooling breezes.