10 Incredible Public Pools from Across the Globe

In celebrating the first day of Spring, The Urban Developer has scoured the globe to uncover the finest pools to enjoy as we embrace the warmer weather months.

From tidal pools in Portugal to an ancient bathhouse in Budapest – here are 10 charming pools from every corner of the globe.

Related: 10 Architects You Should be Following

1. North Sydney Olympic Pool: Sydney

Since its opening, 86 world records have been set at the North Sydney Olympic Pool including several by Dawn Fraser
North Sydney Olympic Pool

Offering views of Luna Park, the Sydney Opera House and the sparkling Harbour and city skyline, North Sydney Olympic pool sits among one of Australia’s most iconic landscapes.

Designed by Rudder & Grout Architects the pool opened on April 4th 1936, in time for the 1938 Empire Games.

Home to world records (86 in 23 years), the Olympic-sized pool is lined with art deco and features arches with views of Sydney's famed harbour.

2. Tabuaço Municipal Pools: Portugal

Located in a town of only 6,000 people, the Municipal Pool is designed as a facility for everyone
Tabuaço Municipal Pools

Accessing the Tabuaço Municipal Pools in Tabuaco, a mountainous area of North Portugal is a challenge.

But architects Topos Atelier de Arquitectura chose this site given its proximity to schools and parks, prompting the urban development between the sites and the pool.

Through the cool marble and wood laden foyer lies a 25m lap pool and a smaller training pool
Tabuaço Municipal Pools 2

The pool sits on a cliff face, designed to be immersed within the landscape.

From the entrance the pool opens up to a scenic perspective of the rural landscape and the surrounding valleys.

3. Badeschiff: Berlin

Badeschiff is regularly home to beach parties and music events

Badeschiff (or Battleship) is a floating public swimming pool on the river Spree in Berlin.

Comprised of three areas; the sauna, lounge and pool are all connected by box shaped hallways. The spaces include sand, hammocks and a bar.

In 2005 Wilk-Salinas Architekten built a protection shell to keep the pool active throughout the winter.

4. Wylie’s Baths: Coogee Beach Sydney Australia

The official Wylie’s website makes a point to mention that it contains no Bluebottle Jellyfish
Wylie’s Baths

Wylie’s Baths is one of NSW’s oldest ocean tidal swimming pools, established in 1907 by its namesake Henry Alexander Wylie.

Wylie's daughter Wilhelmina along with Fanny Durck were Australia’s first female Olympic swimming representatives. The two were the first women to achieve gold and silver, respectively, for a women’s Olympic event.

The Olympic sized pool, set on Sydney’s Coogee Beach, sits on the cliff face and enjoys sweeping 180 degree views of the Pacific Ocean and Wedding Cake Island.

At high tide the water gets flushed out, and swimmers are left paddling among schools of fish, cormorants and currents.

5. Pools of the Tides Porto: Portugal

The design takes advantage of natural depressions in the rocky terrain and embeds basins of salt water
Pools of the Tides

Portugal’s northern district of Porto is home to the tidal pools of Leça da Palmeira a swimming area on the beach of Leça da Palmeira.

The Leça Swimming Pool complex, by Pritzker Prize-winning Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza, was completed in 1966.

The saltwater pools are lodged between the rocks and the sea, an interesting intersection of architecture and nature.

The pool is almost a five-decade old national monument built from wood and copper.

The Leça Swimming Pools are recognised as one of Siza’s greatest works.

6. Gellert Spa and Bath: Budapest Hungary

70 million litres of warm water a day emerge from 118 natural thermal springs
Gellert Spa and Bath

Gellert Bath is a household name in Europe, and is one of Budapest's most popular baths.

It was originally built for medicinal purposes between 1912 and 1918 attracting cliental with its mineral rich waters derived from deep underground springs.

The structure of the spa itself is decorated by colourful mosaics, stained glass windows and sculptures all in respect of its art nouveau style.

7. Piscines Tournesols: Longolsheim France

The "Sunflower" design allows two arches to each open 60 degrees when weather permits
Piscines Tournesols 1

After France's poor performance in the 1968 Olympics, legend has it the country initiated the construction of “1000 pools”. And in the decade that followed hundreds of swimming pools were built.

Architect Bernhard Schoeller’s answer to the mandate was to design a domed-shaped structure called Piscines Tournesols.

Of the 250 "Sunflower" pools planned, only 183 were built
Piscines Tournesols 2

The structure is originally always a dome, but an added “boomerang” like extension (on the periphery of the dome) houses change rooms, offices and services.

This project’s extension is now an example for the other Tournesols around the country, which today, are predominantly in quite poor condition.

8. Ribera-Serrallo centre: Barcelona

Sport Park of Ribera-Serrallo, Álvaro Siza
Sport Park of Ribera-Serrallo, Álvaro Siza

Another Alvaro Siza-designed building, the Ribera Serrallo sports complex in Barcelona, Spain is part of a larger sports centre that includes a stadium for the Barcelona soccer team.

The 40,000sq m project was completed in 2005.

9. La Piscina Montjuic: Barcelona

La Piscina Montjuic hosted a number of events during the 1992 summer Olympics
La Piscina Montjuic

This pool is a must do in Barcelona! Arrive at the pool via the cable car up the mountain (an experience in itself) and it will drop you off across the road.

The Olympic sized pools located on Montjuic were opened in 1929.

The site offers breathtaking 180 degree views over the city and relief from the intense Barcelona sun.

The famed city's skyline at sunset is a spectacular sight from the pool's vantage point.

10. Prince Alfred Park Public Pool: Sydney

The Prince Alfred Park Pool was Sydney's first outdoor heated pool with a ramp into the water
Prince Alfred Park Public Pool

Prince Alfred Park Pool, by Neeson Murcutt Architects and Sue Barnsley Design is an award-winning design built to encourage park use.

The lawns are peppered by yellow umbrellas which took inspiration from Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s The Umbrellas (1984 - 1991), a Japan-USA work of art.

The park is surrounded by Brush Box Trees, Washington Palms and Canary Island Date Palms – cooling the crowds on a hot summer’s day.

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