Aquatic Technology Pool & Spa, "Creating Water as Art."™

Aquatic Technology Pool & Spa, "Creating Water as Art."™
Pools as an art form - the way it should be!

Friday, July 16, 2010

The very first infinity edge, vanishing edge, perimeter overflow, and knife edge pools

Internationally renown aquatic designer and builder, Paolo Benedetti, discusses the history of infinity and vanishing edge swimming pools, throughout the ages.

There have been a lot of charlatans in the pool industry who have claimed to have created the "very first" vanishing edge pool (aka: disappearing edge, infinity edge, zero edge). However, those that claim to have designed or built the very first of such effects are either ignorant or possess "an inflated value of self worth" (fat egos and are blatant liars)!


By simply looking at the horizon when at the beach, one can view the oldest of all of the disappearing water on horizon effects. Standing above a waterfall, one can again see the simple effects of "water on the horizon." The largest series of cascading "vanishing edge pools" ever created, was also created by Mother Nature at Pamukkale, Turkey.

Click on the image to see a larger/close-up view.

These effects were created by GOD... no mortal can lay claim to creating these effects. Period.


Throughout history, builders have borrowed on their observations of these naturally occurring water on horizon effects. They have incorporated these effects in the fountains or pools that they built. One of the earliest forms of zero edge fountains were overflowing pots or bowl fountains. By providing them with a constant supply water, the bowls merely overflow their rims. This kept them clean and clear while creating the effect.

This effect was used as far back as the Romans. Water from rivers & streams was diverted for use in the fountains, homes, and agriculture, then allowed to flow back into the river.

One of the lesser known fountains of Versailles, the Stag fountain, has an inverted vanishing edge. By inverted, I mean that the water flows over a weir (edge) towards the viewer. This fountain dates back to the 17th Century.

Click on the image to see a larger/close-up view.

As I have discussed in an earlier posting (, Los Angeles architect John Lautner (1911-1994) was the modern pioneer of the vanishing edge pool. He incorporated variations of vanishing edge pools in many of his projects.

Completed in 1963, Silvertop, in Silver Lake, CA was Lautner's first true vanishing edge pools. Construction started in 1957, so he must have conceived of the idea at least 4-5 years prior (1952?). This was way before any of the geniuses in the swimming pool industry had ever heard of the term "vanishing edge pool."

Click on the image to see a larger/close-up view.

One of his lesser known projects, the Aranjo House, is situated in the hills above the Acapulco, Mexico harbor.

Click on an image to see a larger/close-up view.

Though this was not a vanishing edge in the pure sense of the term, it illustrates that water as an architectural element was being utilized to create a water on the horizon effect.

Another of John Lautner's famous edge pools is the Sheats-Goldstein house. This pool was not originally a knife edge perimeter overflow pool. It was retrofitted with a stainless steel slot gutter by the current owner, James Goldstein.

Click on an image to see a larger/close-up view.

The only true innovation of recent history was the invention of the deck level perimeter overflow. It is a variation of a competition swimming pool gutter design. Instead of being placed into the interior of the pool, the gutter is placed upon the top of the deck.

While setting a trend, the effect is unrefined and it's approach amateurish at best. It is oftentimes utilized on commercial pools, as it is easy to install and maintain. However it is unsightly.

Though someone falsely may claim to have designed or built the very first vanishing edge swimming pool, a simple look back through history clearly reveals their deceit.

Paolo Benedetti - Aquatic Artist"Creating water as art."™Aquatic Technology Pool & Spa©