A splash by the sea © Fernando Guerra/age fotostock
You wouldn’t know there’s a highway behind these beaming blue pools, and that is just what architect Álvaro Siza Vieira intended. At the young age of 26, Álvaro Siza designed these Piscinas das Marés (Pools on the Beach). His creation has become a Portuguese national landmark and is praised for the way the pools blend into the landscape from some perspectives, and show a harmonious blend of nature and artificiality from others. The design respectfully floats the pools between the soft sands of the beach and the rocky outcrops that have been here long before 1966, when the project was completed. The shapes of the pools simultaneously follow and oppose the natural lines of the terrain that surround them, a masterful balance that foregrounds the beauty of each, as well as the entirety of the scene Álvaro Siza has helped to set.