Trends

Outdoor pools


Outdoor Pools - Project 1

Chris Romer-Lee director, Studio Octopi
Project: Thames Baths project, London, UK

Architecture practice Studio Octopi’s dream of sparking a ‘swimming revolution’ by creating a floating freshwater pool in London’s River Thames is one step closer after it exceeded its Kickstarter funding target.

The Thames Baths project – which has won high-profile backing from figures including artist Tracey Emin – was incorporated as a CIC (Community Interest Company) earlier in 2015, meaning the public space will be run as a social enterprise.

The team launched a crowdfunding initiative on Kickstarter, with a target of £125,000 to help create the floating freshwater pool at Temple Stairs off the Victoria Embankment. The target was passed with four days to spare, and finished with £142,726 from 1,273 backers. Since exceeding the target, the team has been working on a pre planning report, reviewing the sites under consideration in more detail and developing the design.

“We smashed it,” Thames Baths founder and Studio Octopi director Chris Romer-Lee told CLADmag. “The fact that we ended up with £142k in 30 days is an incredible endorsement of the project. Londoners want their river back and we will continue our work to achieve this.

“Ever since we sketched out the original concept for Thames Baths, we’ve wanted to build something that benefited the community and allowed them to participate in its creation.”
Studio Octopi have also appointed marine engineers Beckett Rankine and planning consultants DP9 to work on the project.

Thames Baths proposes the reintroduction of swimming in the River Thames, part of a wider ambition to promote access to urban waterways for swimming and recreation, for all.
If planning permission is granted, the Thames Baths would consist of a floating pontoon which rises and falls with the tide. The pools will be filled with River Thames water passed through a bespoke filtration system. The designs incorporate two pools and a large publicly accessible decked area.

Plans for the Thames Baths were originally designed by Studio Octopi for the ‘London As It Could Be Now’ competition in 2013. The practice subsequently revised the concept into the more workable and scalable design that we see today.

The team aims to submit a planning application at the beginning of 2016.

Chris Romer-Lee director, Studio Octopi
Chris Romer-Lee director, Studio Octopi
Studio Octopi are considering building a network of facilities / Photo: Studio Octopi
Studio Octopi are considering building a network of facilities Photo: Studio Octopi

Outdoor Pools - Project 2

Jeff Franklin co-founder, + Pool
Project: + Pool, New York, USA

Meanwhile in New York the + Pool project, which aims to build a water-filtering floating pool on the Hudson River, is entering final research and development stages to patent the technology and prepare final drawings to submit to the city.

The plans for + POOL see it acting as a giant strainer, with a layered filtration system incrementally removing bacteria and contaminants without chemicals. The ‘plus’ shaped design incorporates four pools into one: a children’s pool, sports pool, lap pool and lounge pool. Each can be used independently, they can be combined to form an Olympic pool or opened into a 9,000 square foot pool for play.

Collaborative art and design practice PlayLab and New York architectural practice Family are behind the scheme.

“New Yorkers are surrounded by water, but haven’t been able to access it recreationally for over 100 years. With 90 per cent of the world’s largest cities in the same situation, we’re not alone. But if we can make it here, we can make it anywhere,” PlayLab co-founder Jeff Franklin told CLADmag.

“+ POOL will provide a clean, safe way for the public to swim in the rivers of New York and test a new model for how public, innovative and ecologically-driven architecture could be conceived, developed, financed and built at a civic scale. We want to reconnect the public with the city’s rivers and harbours as we move towards more ecological ways of building.”

The founders have so far raised more than $650k via Kickstarter and other sources, and are now beginning long-term strategic planning for capital fundraising for the scheme.

From left to right: Archie Lee Coates IV, Oana Stanescu, Dong-Ping Wong and Jeffrey Franklin
From left to right: Archie Lee Coates IV, Oana Stanescu, Dong-Ping Wong and Jeffrey Franklin
The design allows flexibility in the use of the pool
The design allows flexibility in the use of the pool

Outdoor Pools - Project 3

Eva Pfannes founder, Ooze Architects
Project: Of Soil and Water, King’s Cross, London, UK

Designed by Rotterdam-based Ooze Architects, a naturally filtered swimming pool opened in summer 2015 in the heart of London’s King’s Cross redevelopment. Called Of Soil and Water, it’s currently hosting a range of events over the winter and will reopen for swimming next summer (2016). It has a sauna and showers.

Ooze Architects, working in collaboration with Slovenia-based artist Marjetica Potrc, have come together to create the freshwater pond. The structure is 10m (32ft) wide and 40m (131ft) long. Completely chemical free, the pool is surrounded by a green landscape. By using a natural ‘closed-loop’ process, combining the wetlands and submerged water plants, the water is filtered and remains clear.

Eva Pfannes, founder of Ooze Architects said: “The project is a small-scale enclaved environment; a living laboratory to test balance and to raise questions about self-sustaining systems. It includes one cycle of nature: water, land and the human body.

“Swimmers enter a living laboratory where they’re aware of their relationship with nature, and of the consequences of their interaction with nature. It encourages them to take responsibility.”

Of Soil and Water is part of Argent’s overall masterplan for King’s Cross, the largest urban redevelopment project in Europe.

Ooze Architects – Eva Pfannes (centre), Sylvain Hartenberg (left) and artist Marjetica Potrc? (right)
Ooze Architects – Eva Pfannes (centre), Sylvain Hartenberg (left) and artist Marjetica Potrc? (right)
The pool is surrounded by grass and trees and has a viewing deck, changing rooms, sauna and showers. It’s part of the Kings Cross public art programme, Relay / IMAGE: JOHN STURROCK
The pool is surrounded by grass and trees and has a viewing deck, changing rooms, sauna and showers. It’s part of the Kings Cross public art programme, Relay IMAGE: JOHN STURROCK
The pool is surrounded by grass and trees and has a viewing deck, changing rooms, sauna and showers. It’s part of the Kings Cross public art programme, Relay / IMAGE: JOHN STURROCK
The pool is surrounded by grass and trees and has a viewing deck, changing rooms, sauna and showers. It’s part of the Kings Cross public art programme, Relay IMAGE: JOHN STURROCK
The pool is surrounded by grass and trees and has a viewing deck, changing rooms, sauna and showers. It’s part of the Kings Cross public art programme, Relay
The pool is surrounded by grass and trees and has a viewing deck, changing rooms, sauna and showers. It’s part of the Kings Cross public art programme, Relay

Outdoor Pools - Project 4

Madalena Sales co-founder, 100architects
Project: Suprematist Pool, Moscow, Russia

In Moscow, the 100architects collective have designed a concept for a floating pool based on one of Russian artist Kazimir Malevich's most famous paintings.

The 'suprematist pool' is located in Moscow's city centre, on the Volga River and next to Pushkinskii Bridge and Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure. The idea is to allow access to the river and encourage unexplored uses of it. The pool is formed from different floating components, and is designed to be used in the summer and dissassembled in the winter.

"We wanted to design a controversial public space that would relate to the Russian art scene,” said Madalena Sales, co-founder of 100architects. “We had the idea for a floating pool but we needed some meaning behind it, so we looked for a Russian artist. We especially liked the Suprematist movement, because the geometries are so pure and simple but the composition is so rich. This painting was perfect.”

The pools, changing rooms, showers and wooden deck are arranged so that they mirror the geometry of Malevich's famous painting when viewed from above. “The Suprematist Pool is a spatial living structure that promotes social interaction by offering the possibility of swimming and playing in the Volga river, in Moscow,” said Sales. “Its Suprematic inspiration adds drama and sense to the overall layout while directly connecting it to the Russian artistic background.”

100architects was founded in Shanghai in 2013 and is led by four partners. The practice offers design consultancy services for urban attractors, creating architectural objects that attract users and customers, promoting brands and products. It specialises in public space, street architecture and urban interventions.

Madalena Sales co-founder, 100architects
Madalena Sales co-founder, 100architects
The floating pool structure is made from wood and metal and has glass fibre hulls / IMAGE:© 100ARCHITECTS
The floating pool structure is made from wood and metal and has glass fibre hulls IMAGE:© 100ARCHITECTS
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