As the heart of FivePoint’s’ Great Park Neighborhoods, an eight-acre community pool area in Irvine offers residents of the 10,500-home master planned community a common place to connect and relax. With designs from local architecture firm, LPA Design Studios, The Pools project was completed in 2018 and has been serving residents ever since.
“As homes are being developed, there is such a demand for more housing that a lot of the times the resources you need for a typical home, the outdoor spaces, a pool, connection to nature, are really hard to find. So something that FivePoint did that was really interesting was consolidating all these amenities into these community parks that are within these neighborhoods,” Ozzie Tapia, project designer with LPA Design Studios, said.
In total, the park features four luxury pools, with one serving as a lap-pool for sporting meets and other events. The pool areas are lined with cabanas and tiered decks that provide places for people to relax while also encompassing the pool space and creating a courtyard-like atmosphere. Amenities like grilling areas, a fitness center and play areas for children were also included in the project’s design.
While serving as a traditional community center, designs for the project were less than traditional, according to LPA. By using modern architecture and flexible indoor and outdoor spaces, the park is enhanced to blend in with the surrounding community while also playing on the warm Southern California climate.
As well as providing sheltered areas with floating wood roofs and native stone walls, the community centers open up with flexible glass doors that bring the outside inside. The indoor spaces are also flexible, and can be rearranged to meet the needs of various events and activities.
“There are giant folding glass walls that all of a sudden open up the building to these covered decks. One is an outdoor kitchen, one is a lounge that faces the pool. So, the building starts to become almost like a transformer. You can enclose it and it’s completely sealed when the weather doesn’t allow it, or you can completely open it and all of a sudden it’s a much bigger amenity that people can flow in and out of,” Tapia said.
“I think in the beginning the idea wasn’t to create buildings in our complex where they were so separate from the landscape that it felt alienated or it felt like objects were just dropped on the park. The idea, the concept from the beginning, was to integrate them both so you can flow from one to the other very seamlessly and very naturally.”
The Pools is part of the much larger Great Park Neighborhoods, a master planned community by Irvine-based developer FivePoint, which includes six residential neighborhoods. Working to develop communities across Orange County as well as Los Angeles and San Francisco, the company is responsible for the development and planning of 23 million square feet of commercial, 40,000 homes and 6,000 units of affordable housing.
Serving as the heart of the community, residents can access the central park through a series of integrating walking and biking trails, which also connect to bike repair facilities and workout. In addition, the streets leading to the pools are lined with beacons which can be lit up at night. According to LPA, the beacons serve as visual markers of the destination ahead but can also change colors to meet various themes, holidays and events, further connecting the larger community.
“By being located as a center or a hub of the community, it gives it a prime location. It’s the destination that everyone wants to access. FivePoint was really smart about creating these bike paths and trails that connect the neighborhood to the park…I think that the whole thought was not only to cater but to facilitate and entice an active and balanced lifestyle within the neighborhood and that’s one way that integrating all of these trails was able to do that,” Tapia said.
In general, The Pools project was designed to provide an active, outdoor element to the Great Parks community. By integrating the bike paths throughout, the community overall serves an active lifestyle that matches the Southern California environment, Tapia said.
“The idea was not just to have a typical community center but to reinvent that concept into something that’s more fitting to the Southern California lifestyle and context. We have wonderful weather year-round that we can take advantage of… People are drawn to seeing more people within these facilities and kind of amenities which is something you don’t see very often,” Tapia said.