Canada's first natural swimming pool by gh3 architecture wins plaudits for innovation

Honoured this year among the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada's Awards of Excellence in the Innovation in Architecture category, Borden Park Natural Swimming Pool in Edmonton, Alberta, is the first chemical–free public outdoor pool to be built in Canada.

The 64,000sq ft (19,500sq m) complex, which includes two pools, a sandy beach and changing rooms, was designed by Toronto-based gh3 architecture.

Instead of chlorine or other chemicals for disinfection, Borden Park relies on the cleansing capabilities of sand, gravel and a range of aquatic plants and microscopic organisms.

The US$11m (€9.8m, £9m) project was put together with the help of consultants Polyplan (pool engineering), the German natural pool specialists Morrison Hershfield (structural, mechanical, electrical, civil and LEED), and BTY (cost consultants). Polyplan devised the all-important treatment and filtration process that keep the water clean.

Built on the site of a previous pool dating from the 1950s, Borden Park NSP includes some of the original buildings from the 1950s pool, but also features gabion walls made of pieces of local dark limestone that are held together without mortar by being enclosed in wire cages, adding a further thematic nod to the porousness of the filtration process for the water.

Borden Park Natural Swimming Pool  Alberta  Canada  gh3 architecture  Polyplan  Morrison Hershfield  BTY  Royal Architectural Institute of Canada 
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Company profile: Willmott Dixon
Willmott Dixon delivers the social infrastructure that people depend on in their daily lives. We partner with our customers to focus on the services they want to provide, not just the building we construct, and we are committed to achieving a higher social purpose through our work.
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Canada's first natural swimming pool by gh3 architecture wins plaudits for innovation
Honoured this year among the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada's Awards of Excellence in the Innovation in Architecture category, Borden Park Natural Swimming Pool in Edmonton, Alberta, was the first chemical–free public outdoor pool to be built in Canada.