Natural Wonder - Cape Cod LIFE Publications

Natural Wonder

A “living” swimming pool on Nantucket is both an ecologically sensitive choice— and a naturally stunning treasure.

Thirty miles out to sea and seemingly detached from the rest of the world, Nantucket has served as a tranquil summer escape for generations. Already graced with stunning natural beauty, it seems an unwritten rule that even the most luxurious homes, whether newly constructed or renovated centuries-old dwellings, should blend into the already extraordinary landscape.

When one family sought to add a pool to their expansive 12-acre estate on Nantucket’s south shore, they sought a design that would merge seamlessly into the captivating surroundings. In lieu of a conventional pool, the homeowners turned to R.P. Marzilli & Co. of Medway, Massachusetts, to create a natural or “living” pool that would boast chlorine-free water and abundant vegetation creating a refreshing sustainable oasis on the property.

Robert Marzilli has been building lush landscapes for more than 25 years, but to meet the specifications of this project on Nantucket, he worked with Biotop GMBH, the first natural pool company in Europe. Throughout the past two and a half decades, Biotop has developed the system, know-how, and technical equipment to create the first ecologically natural, filtered swimming pool. While Biotop boasts more than 3,500 natural pools worldwide, including both residential and publically utilized pools, the Nantucket project is the company’s first foray into the United States.

With a Biotop pool the central swimming area is bordered or surrounded by a wall that acts as a divider from a wealth of flora and fauna, called the regeneration zone, where organic impurities and excess nutrients are decomposed by the plants and microorganisms, acting as a natural filter. Underneath the surface, a series of remarkable systems are at work. Water flows over a curved self-cleaning sieve that skims out the impurities, such as undesirable mucilaginous algae. The water streams naturally into a submerged pump house, transporting it into the natural pool through pressure lines. A phosphorous filter developed by Biotop ensures that the water remains pure and clear as it circulates.

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