Sunday, June 20

London’s ‘Sky Pool’ Amid a Wave of Increasingly Unbelievable Designs | Swimming


It is perhaps no surprise that swimming pools made headlines this week after the hottest days of the year in much of the UK.

First, an aerial photograph of the transparent “sky pool” at London’s Embassy Gardens went viral. There was envy seeing the swimmers ten stories above, followed by disgust that only the wealthiest residents had keys, leaving those in the shared flats sweating jealously underneath.

Then a private company announced plans to build the world’s deepest pool in Cornwall, sinking to 50 meters (165 feet). Blue Abyss wants to spend £ 150 million on the project, which would be used to train astronauts and help advance underwater robotics.

Across the world, increasingly unlikely swimming pools are coming to life as architects seek new, often gravity-defying ways to bathe their wealthy clients and occasionally build wonderful public baths for all.

Brian Eckersley, one of the structural engineers behind Sky Pool, believes we may be living in a “golden age” of pool design. His firm, Eckersley O’Callaghan, has spent the past seven years trying to bring the artist’s impressions of the sky pool to life.

“A lot of people thought it wouldn’t happen. Crazy projects are often floated just to get publicity for a project and there is never an intention to carry them out, ”he said. “The technical solutions for them have never really been thought of, they are only produced to get people’s attention.”

A computer illustration of the planned Blue Abyss pools in Cornwall.
A computer illustration of the planned Blue Abyss pools in Cornwall, which would be the deepest in the world. Photography: Cityscape Digital / Blue Abyss

Technical inspiration for the Sky Pool, designed by Hal Architects in London, came from the Barton Aqueduct, a Victorian engineering masterstroke that carries the Bridgewater Canal through the Manchester Ship Canal, opening up for ships. what happens. “It doesn’t have a glass bottom, but it carries a body of water at a high level. The Embassy Gardens pool is an aqueduct in that sense, in the sense that it carries a body of water through a gap, ”he said.

He said he could not comment on the criticism of the restricted access to the pool: “That is not something we were a part of in any way. But I think a lot of people wouldn’t even want to swim in it, it makes their stomach churn. But as an object up there in the sky, everyone can enjoy it as something spectacular. “

The developers, EcoWorld Ballymore, say that the jointly owned properties are managed by Peabody and Optivo, who had the option of choosing the facilities they wanted to purchase for their residents. “To retain a more affordable service charge, they chose not to include access to the gym, movie theater, pools, business center, lounges, concierge and post office,” said a spokesperson.

Despite the fact that swimming is one of the most egalitarian sports, the most luxurious pools are increasingly owned by the wealthy. The tallest pool in the world (in a building) is on top of the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Hong Kong, 468.8 meters (1,538 feet) above the ground. On the 57th floor of the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore is the the largest rooftop infinity pool in the world.

The swimming pool of the Hotel Hubertus in the Italian Tyrol
The swimming pool of the Hotel Hubertus in the Italian Tyrol. Photograph: Dpa Picture Alliance / Alamy

Hotel Hubertus in the Italian Tyrol has a cantilevered pool with a glass bottom by the architecture studio NOA, which goes 17 meters into the Dolomites. A night at the hotel will cost you at least £ 155, but about 60 miles further southwest you can swim in one of the most spectacular municipal pools in the world, in Caldaro, for just € 7.50 (£ 6.50). Your public lido It was designed by the legendary Viennese architect Ernst Fuchs and commissioned by the city itself. The monolithic concrete lakeside baths incorporate gray icebergs that reflect the mountains behind, the sunbathing deck propels into the lake like the stern of a cruise ship.

The Viennese especially appreciate swimming. In the Austrian capital, a single public housing development, the Heinz-Nittel-Hof, has eight rooftop pools, open to residents of the 1,422 apartments.




www.theguardian.com

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