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Project to repair iconic Hearst Castle pool honored by state’s Preservation Foundation

Hearst Castle Neptune Pool celebrates opening

Hearst Castle's iconic Neptune Pool celebrates reopening with a pool party including the Aquabatix synchronized swimmers and 250 guests.
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Hearst Castle's iconic Neptune Pool celebrates reopening with a pool party including the Aquabatix synchronized swimmers and 250 guests.

The multi-year, $5.4 project to repair and restore Hearst Castle’s iconic outdoor Neptune Pool has won a 2019 award for craftsmanship and preservation technology and design from the California Preservation Foundation.

The awards recognize significant preservation achievements in architecture, history, design and engineering.

The pool shares this year’s honors with 21 other recipients in various categories, including gardens and parks, homes, commercial buildings, educational campuses, a neighborhood, a church, an adobe, a ranch, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and the Spruce Goose airplane. The achievements of four individuals also will be celebrated with separate Presidents Awards.

The competition’s entries are judged by a jury of professionals in various fields related to preservation design.

The Castle’s iconic Neptune Pool had many issues, including leaks, some of which had been dripping for decades despite other attempts to stem the trickles, seeps and flows. It’s estimated that the 345,000-gallon pool was leaking up to 5,000 gallons of water per day.

The massive renovation project stripped the much-photographed 104-foot-long pool down to its cracked concrete shell, located and fixed the leaks and other problems, added much-needed waterproofing and a flexible liner, and installed new white marble and green serpentine tile from the Carl Schilling Stoneworks quarry in Vermont, which had provided the originals about 90 years ago. Conservators also worked on statues surrounding the pool.

The Preservation Design awards will be presented at an evening event on Oct. 18 at San Francisco’s InterContinental Mark Hopkins hotel, a San Francisco designated landmark with its own historical relevance.

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