Les Mills International
Les Mills International
Les Mills International

How to build a transparent floating sky pool 10-storeys above the ground

The structural engineers behind a forthcoming transparent sky pool which will span two London apartment blocks have outlined the huge technical challenges of the project.

Eckersley O’Callaghan are building the pool for development firm Ballymore Group in the Nine Elms development close to Battersea Power Station.

The 25m (82ft) pool – designed in collaboration with Arup Associates and aquarium designer Reynolds – will be 5m (16ft) wide and will enable residents to swim between the buildings with only 20cm of acrylic between them and a 10-storey drop.

“There are some examples of swimming pools on top of buildings, with transparent sides and bottoms – but none that straddle across two structures at such a height and on this scale,” said Eckersley O’Callaghan director Brian Eckersley. “This is very much a first.”

He said that the most significant challenge facing the engineering team is that the pool is supported on two buildings which will move slightly differently when it is windy and due to settlement. “To overcome this, the bearings will support the pool structure and allow for a degree of movement in the same way they would for a bridge,” he explained.

“The pressure of the water against the sides of the pool also needs to be considered,” he added. “The sides are trying to burst apart as well as the weight of the water being carried by the structure. You have to transfer all these loads to the supporting buildings whilst they themselves have a tendency to move around relative to each other.

“In doing this, the buildings must not be locked together by this bridge, because that would induce large stresses within all the structures.”

Eckersley equated the weight of the water in the sky pool to four times that of a typical floor in a building. He said: “For perspective, if you consider a square metre area at the bottom of a pool, every 1m depth of water weighs about the same as a small car. This pool will carry 150 tonnes of water up at 10-storeys.”

The engineers chose to use acrylic over glass due to its strong and almost invisible chemical bonds between pieces, its more transparent overall structure and its refractive index, which is similar to that of water and will limit visual distortion.

“Thick glass panels, formed by laminating multiple plys together, would lack the clarity and transparency envisaged by the architect and client,” said Eckersley. “However, a challenge with acrylic is that it expands and contracts under temperature, and changes much more than the other construction materials we usually design with. The bridge-style bearings supporting the pool will need to accommodate these movements.”

Despite the potentially terrifying prospect of swimming in the sky pool for some, Eckersley insisted the design process ensures that the final structure is safe. He said: “Everything that we engineer follows stringent code of practice. When we are dealing with something innovative, we look to first principles, make prototypes and perform testing to confirm that it behaves how we predict it will.”

Ballymore Group chair and CEO, Sean Mulryan, who came up with the concept, has previously told CLAD that the sky pool experience will “feel like floating through the air while you’re swimming” and emphasised that the project will push the boundaries of construction and engineering.

In addition to the pool, a parallel bridge will connect the two apartment rooftops. Around 2,000 residences will be included in the towers, which will be called Embassy Gardens. The development is part of a wider regeneration scheme masterplanned by Foster + Partners and Frank Gehry.

Structural engineering  Eckersley O’Callaghan  Arup  London  Sky Pool  Nine Elms  Embassy Gardens  Battersea Power Station  design 
Related stories
03 Mar 2016

Clear glass skyslide to open 1,000ft above Los Angeles

24 Dec 2015

Glass-bottomed skypool suspended over void wins design contest for Paris

30 Nov 2015

New Dubai St Regis will have a 700ft-high swimming pool offering stunning city views

19 Aug 2015

Arup’s glass sky pool will be suspended ten storeys up

The structural engineers behind a forthcoming transparent sky pool which will span two London apartment blocks have outlined the huge technical challenges of the project. Eckersley O’Callaghan are building the pool for development firm Ballymore Group in the Nine Elms development close to Battersea Power Station. The 25m (82ft) pool – designed in collaboration with Arup Associates and aquarium designer Reynolds – will be 5m (16ft) wide and will enable
CLD,ARC,DES
The sky pool will connect the rooftops of two 10-storey apartment buildings / Arup
More news
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7627     
 
 
 
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7627     
 
 
 
company profile
Company profile: Painting With Light
Painting with Light is a team of professional lighting and multimedia experts who design and produce visual experiences that dazzle & shine.
videos
BluGalaxy a Division of Blu Spas
Blu Spas
This animation showcases the beautiful concept design of BluGalaxy Spa.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
Shawn Hausman and SHD principal Jessica Kimberley created the interiors
"We tried to take over in a friendly way"

The Standard’s first London hotel is bold, fun and full of surprising touches

CopenHill is part of an extensive regeneration of the former industrial dockland area of Amager
"It was born from the sheer anxiety of having to submit something brilliant in a very short timescale"

How a moment of desperation led to BIG’s CopenHill, the clean power plant that’s doubling as a skiing and leisure destination. Magali Robathan speaks to the architects that made it happen

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
The Shenzhen Sky Garden will be built on existing reclaimed land
Stephen Barrett (left) 
and John McElgunn (right) were both made partners at RSHP in 2016
"Leisure space – public space – is at the very root of democracy, and architecture is about democracy"

As RSHP completes its latest cultural project, we speak to two of its partners about why Richard Rogers isn’t leaving his succession to chance

There is a pool and spa complex on the ground floor
Martin Jochman founded JADE+QA in 2013. He formerly worked for Atkins
"We didn’t want to put in any gimmicks. We wanted to create a building that’s inherently sustainable through passive sustainability"

When Martin Jochman set out to transform an old quarry into a luxury hotel, he faced some serious challenges

The Smog Free Project turns smog into jewellery
"I want to demonstrate that creativity is our true capital as humans "

Rather than feeling fearful and helpless about the future, we must design a way out of the environmental problems we have created, argues the innovative Dutch designer, artist and inventor Daan Roosegaarde

The book was published in 2019 by RIBA Publishing
Elina Grigoriou
"Temperature, noise level and colour affect our stress levels. As designers we should be asking ourselves, how do these things match up?"

The London-based interior designer and wellness expert hopes her new book will help readers understand how to design with wellbeing in mind

cladkit product news
ASPA International launches handheld UV-C light disinfection lamp
The compact plug-in product can be used easily in a commercial spa or domestic setting to disinfect surfaces with UV-C light
Megan Whitby
For over 30 years, ASPA International has designed and built high-quality spas for the hotel, health and wellness sectors. During ...
Atelier Alain Ellouz launches handcrafted precious stone lighting collection
LYRA has a sleek, cylindrical design complete with an elegant brass dimming switch
Megan Whitby
LYRA, GAMA, MONA and ATHENA are the first pieces from designer Atelier Alain Ellouz’s new.édition collection of handcrafted stone lighting ...
Christie laser projectors power new Five Senses Bubble dome theatre
The dome aims to integrate technology with arts and culture
Magali Robathan
Christie® GS Series 1DLP® laser projectors are delivering vivid and lifelike visuals in a new dome theatre located in Xiong’an ...
cladkit product news
Cosm unveils Experience Centre with ‘one of a kind’ LED dome
The new Experience Centre houses a 20m LED dome
Magali Robathan
Cosm, a global technology company that builds end-to-end solutions for immersive experiences, has unveiled its Experience Centre which houses a ...
LianTronics’ glasses-free 3D Star Trek LED screen attracts attention
Magali Robathan
LianTronics’ giant curved LED wall with stunning glasses-less 3D spaceship display effect has attracted many on the street of Chengdu, ...
Móz Designs columns anchor the world’s largest indoor aquarium
The design of the columns was inspired by the sea
Magali Robathan
After a two-year renovation, Oakland-based metal experts Móz Designs have unveiled their inclusion in Georgia Aquarium’s new shark gallery. Located ...
cladkit product news
Diamond balloon concept merges tourist attraction with advertising billboard
Magali Robathan
A group of Dutch engineers have presented a new attractions concept that combines a flying observation cabin with LED digital ...
Fabio Alemanno Design uses elegant semi-precious stones to create memorable spa experiences
Alemanno believes the stones are well-placed in the spa environment thanks to their capacity to positively support physical and mental health
Megan Whitby
Fabio Alemanno Design has expanded its collection with semi-precious stones to enhance spas, wellness facilities, hotels and private residences. The ...
Siminetti unveils first glimpses of Mother of Pearl decorative surfaces inspired by the four seasons
The new winter design is finished with naturally occurring hexagonal patterns found in snowflakes
Megan Whitby
Siminetti has collaborated with British designer Chrisanna London to create a luxury Mother of Pearl decorative surface range inspired by ...
x
Sign up with CLAD for regular news updates
Les Mills International
Les Mills International