This isn’t your run-of-the-mill neighborhood swimming pool. Instead of harsh chemicals and bland concrete, this elegant pool, designed by Philippe Barriere Collective is filled with naturally-filtered, recycled water and built out of local rocks, gravel and stone. To keep the partially-open space warm in the cooler months, recycled steam from the hamman in the complex is distributed throughout the space, giving the lucky residents who get to use it an organic experience closer to romping around in a natural spring than slogging through another boring session of laps in an antiseptic gym.
The aquatic complex, called Lilu for the Berber term for rainwater, comprises a health club, cafe (organic, of course), a hamman and the pool. The complex has flexible hours to encourage neighborhood residents to socialize and relax after a healthy session in the fitness spaces. Just don’t call it “going to the gym” – this is a much more natural and all encompassing experience.
The water is filtered into the pool by allowing rainwater to run down an olive orchard hill, through the complex pavilions, through filtering and finally purified by running through plants (water lily, water hyacinth, phragmites australis, caltha palustris, menthe aquatic for purification and hippuris vulgaris, waterweed for oxygenation). There is no chlorine required to keep things clean. This eco-system, filled with biodiversity, ensures a low-maintenance, self-sustaining system that can be enjoyed by the whole community.
The vaults enclosing the pool are made out of local materials. These vaults cover the top space, but the sides are left semi-open and the main level partially submerged below ground. This allows the space to be filled with natural light and air. To keep the space warm in the cooler months, steam from the hamman is recycled and redistributed through the complex.