Because when illuminated at night, this lap pool appears to effortlessly float in air. Because the lawn comes “this close” to the coping. Because the patternless, solid gray liner fools you into thinking you’re looking at a gunite project. Because the length of the pool matches the width of the house exactly — to the inch. Because the narrow, 6-inch-wide coping emphasizes the discreet elegance of the pool. Because the filtering equipment is located 150 feet away from the pool, so you’ll never miss the sound of the wind during a gentle Virginia breeze.

When a Virginia couple decided to build their dream house, they presented a laundry list of understated ideas for the design of the pool. However, one request stood out from the rest: Make the lap pool look as if it is suspended in space.

“They wanted the pool to give the illusion that it was floating in air during the evening,” says Fred von Lewinski, pool contractor for the project and owner of Charlottesville Aquatics in Charlottesville, Va. “They wanted to have an architectural element in their yard.”

Along with the architect and landscape architect, von Lewinski created an 8-by-69-foot minimalist masterpiece, which literally looks as if it’s airborne in the evening. “The illusion is created simply by the fact that when it’s dark at night, all you see is the lighted pool and its dimensions,” says von Lewinski. “There’s nothing else lighted around the pool. There is darkness and this long, rectangular light source that looks like it’s floating.”

The lawn meets the water’s edge with an untraditional, 6-inch-wide coping, which von Lewinski specially designed for the project. “It’s unusual to have a pool with such a narrow coping or deck edge, especially a vinyl-liner pool,” he says. “The owners wanted nothing, but we had to do something. We calculated it was the smallest we could do and still have everything work right.”