As an architect I have experienced my fair share of people’s eccentric demands. I have dealt with swimming pools on roofs, upside down trees, walls that disappear and home cinema requirements that would knock your socks off. When I was reading through the plans my most recent client had put together for his Bayside Melbourne home, I was a little stunned. I had never seen someone wanting me to design them a space specifically to house a portable hyperbaric chamber. For confidentiality reasons I cannot tell you the name of my client, but I can tell you he is a professional athlete and he has lots of money to spend. As well a personally tailored oxygen therapy centre, he also plans to build a glass bottom swimming pool that sits above a gym suits so you can admire those swimming above you when working out. As if swimming, running and oxygen therapy isn’t enough, he also wants to have a tennis court on the roof and a half size basketball court around the back. Apparently portable hyperbaric chambers are becoming increasingly popular with athletes in order to increase fitness and activity levels.
My client told me he had been receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy in Melbourne for a couple of years and accounts a lot of his recent sporting success to his oxygen treatments. The portable hyperbaric chamber doesn’t take up too much room so will fit easily into his rather large mansion, he just wants to make sure there is a suitably peaceful space in which he can receive his oxygen therapy so I am designing a room with a large skylight to allow maximum penetration of natural light. I thought it might nicely somewhere around the swimming pool. At some point I will have to remind my client that we are designing him a home and not a fitness parlour, he has not included bedrooms or a kitchen in any of his initial designs. I suppose that is my job!