Project brief

Create a commercial but intimate pool operation placed within a remote rainforest. Provide tourists with an additional attraction to the glacier and a reason to extend their stay in the village. The facility needed to be functional, well-designed, combining client vision, engineering excellence and requiring minimal maintenance, leaving the rainforest as if it had never been touched.

The challenge

One of the main challenges we faced, was the remote location which was five hours across an alpine pass.

The dense rainforest presented many challenges, with extended periods of rain, three metre visibility, thirty metre Kamahi trees with aerial and spreading roots, and no existing clearings.

Thought had to go into ongoing maintenance and there was a strong need to be self-reliant. The attraction couldn’t afford to have tourists travel five hours only to find the pools broken down or the water lukewarm.

The solution

Because of the remote location and the brief to leave the environment as if it had never been touched, we constructed what we could offsite and positioned it into the forest. Early investment was made spending time understanding the site – including a GPS survey of the trees. With trees located, designers were able to produce concepts which meant that no roots or tree branches would be challenged during construction.

Maintaining pool temperature with heavy rainfalls (400ml of rain could be dumped into the pools within hours) was difficult. The solution was to drain the warm water into insulated storage tanks when the pools weren’t in use, which in turn had excellent energy savings and the unforeseen benefit of keeping hopeful locals from climbing the fences at night.

The key to success in achieving the goals were our strong relationships with the client, consultants and contractors. We kept it simple, and listened and worked together to come up with a solution to each challenge. Turning our challenges into solutions has made these hot pools into something beautifully unique.

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