With the development of our show pool moving through to the construction phase, we are ready for our first client. As 'Sensei', a Martial Arts instructor, Luiz regularly encounters over stretched muscles and ligaments, sprains, dislocations and bone breakeages. To aid the healing process for injured parties, he utilises various Acupuncture, Electromassage, Hydro-massage and Chromatherapy techniques.

Together with his collegue, Luiz has been negotiating the costs of a therapy space with which to expand their business opportunities. Associated costs - with rent, excersize equipment, machinary such as health spa's using UV and Ozone filtering systems, upkeep and maintenance of a therapy center - are very high and Luiz explained that he wanted to explore the possibilities of revitalising a dead space that he has at home, to achieve the same ends.

The front of the plot houses a beautiful but unused thatched pergola (which I've always appreciated from the road). The client wants the space to attract people to 'want' to use it again, maybe even as a venue for seminars and childrens parties and the like. Everything is there, if not a little run down and overgrown. It needs a bit of love, a bit of waterproofing and a bit of tidying up which, with a few simple ideas will be easy enough to achieve on a fairly economical budget.

The current 'shell' requires a little work to equalize the wall-height all round and re-surface it with a fibleglass containment system, similar to a plunge pool. It has plenty of potential as a conversion project and houses a 'once-was' waterfall. The waterfall can be re-invented and brought to life again not only as the return point to aid the aeration of the water, but also as a hydromassage and play feature. Mixed with some apt lighting it would easily create a focus point to enliven a seminar space or add a little romance to an exterior eating space, but with the addition of a multi-coloured LED lighting system, we will create a Chromotherapy-spa to work outside and under the stars.

With a tight budget, we're considering 3 options for naturally rejeuvenating this area. The systems would utilise the floating planter filtration system or a semi-compact system developed by our resident Bioengineer Dr. Jerome Davis. The first is an 'in-pool' system. This method would diminish the useable area of the feature itself, but not require any further building. The second would pump the water through a planted filter system, around the external walls of the existing pergola and create a very interesting and dynamic workspace. Allowing the water to cascade by the power of gravity and return oxidated to the pool, it would minimise the consumption requirement for the pump or any further aeration equipment. The third would have to be achieved as an ongoing project and would include a solar-heating system and airlift pumps to create a 'natural' bubbling, hot-tub.

The second option would serve several functions besides filtering the water and, give the client a much better value for money. With plants planned hardy enough to accept a future heating element, they would give shape, colour, movement and form to what would appear as a living wall to the pergola. By regulating the height of the planted form, that 'wall' would also act to extinguish strong winds and replace them with refreshing breezes, passing through a seemingly 'internal' space. By simply expanding the filtration system of the water feature to include the pergola space, two projects are achieved as one and, considering the third option, already prepared for future improvement when budget allows.

At the site visit, the boys were very excited about the fact that they could work out in the open air and I really didn't have to say anything else. Their imaginations went wild, filled with images of asiatic mountainsides, wooden decks, natural and herbal techniques, how beautiful it would look at night in amongst the palms - "especially with the colours changing all the time", straw and bamboo and honour and the ancient Samurai - it really was 'very' enjoyable to be a part of.

Now 'we' have to put our heads and hands where 'my' mouth was. It has transformed into a 'very' inspiring project. Small as it maybe, I'm beginning to think it better described as "compact" due to it being the first completely naturally filtered, manmade therapy spa in Brazil.

If I'll ever utilise the term "start as you mean to continue" for purposes more than jest, it will be Today.

Jamie Conway. Brasilia. January 2015.