You Should Know: The First Kidney-Shaped Pool (1939)
Villa Mairea was completed in 1939. Designed by the world-famous architect Alvar Aalto and his wife. Villa Mairea belongs to a time when Alvar Aalto moved from the minimalist functionalism to more modern architectural expression. It might be this swimming pool that changed the history of skateboarding. Until then, swimming pools were traditional rectangles, but the pool at Villa Mairea doesn’t have any angles. The top view of the pool edge line forms a kidney-like shape. The ground is round, and it’s divided into two parts: a deep end and a shallow end.
The Pool and the Stream Redux
This is the UPDATED story of a curvy, kidney-shaped swimming pool born in Northern Europe that had a huge ripple effect on popular culture in Southern California and landscape architecture in Northern California, and then the world.
Is it possible that a 1930’s design concept from a Finnish Architect named Alvar Aalto was the ultimate inspiration for a design decades later that would revolutionize the world of skateboarding?
(Alvar Aalto was a Finnish Modernist Architect believed to have created the first kidney shaped pool in the world. He was beloved by Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry). This is the newly updated story of a curvy, kidney-shaped swimming pool born in Northern Europe that had a huge ripple effect on popular culture in Southern California and landscape architecture in Northern California, and then the world.
Donnell Pool | 1948 • SONOMA COUNTY, CA
Nine years later to 1948, in Sonoma, California, Jean and Dewey Donnell’s private home—called the Donnell Garden—was completed. It got a lot of coverage in the press, and the house style was copied widely. One of the most copied features of the house was the swimming pool, which became the modern Californian lifestyle symbol. Donnell Garden is the first known kidney shaped pool in the states. Images of Donnell Garden became imitated by landscape architects and pool builders.
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