British developers to create extreme sky pool suspended between buildings
Ever imagined swimming in a totally transparent pool? Probably not. That’s what’s so great about this sky pool in Britain – it’s beyond your wildest dreams.
Claimed to be the world’s first floating swimming pool, it is suspended between two buildings at luxury British development Embassy Gardens. The 25-metre clear-sided and bottomed pool is 35 metres in the sky and allows swimmers to see gardens below and buildings and rooftops to the side. The man behind the structural engineering of the pool, Brian Eckersley, says it will “be like flying”.
The mammoth task of planning and constructing the pool was given to structural engineers Eckersley O’Callaghan, architects Arup Associates and aquarium designers Reynolds.
They came up with an acrylic structure 3.2 metres deep, with sides 200 millimetres thick and a bottom 300 millimetres thick. The end product will weigh 50 tonnes and, once it’s manufactured, will either be transported across land or along the River Thames.
Embassy Gardens is arguably London’s poshest new apartment project. Near the newly designed US Embassy, developer Ballymore and EcoWorld Ballymore are taking aim at the world’s wealthiest jetsetters with a range of multimillion-dollar apartments and lavish amenities.
Australian developer Len Warson, chief executive of Glenvill, visited the Embassy Gardens site and display suite as part of a worldwide research tour into global developments. Glenvill is responsible for YarraBend, the redevelopment of the old Amcor site at Alphington, which will become home for up to 4000 residents in up to 2000 new houses, townhouses and apartments.
In the competitive world of housing developments, Warson says it’s essential to incorporate something with wow factor just as the sky pool has for Embassy Gardens.
“I think when you’re advertising, a picture paints a thousand words, so from a marketing perspective a showstopper image is central to it all,” Warson says. “We’re just about to brief architects on our riverfront on YarraBend and we are going to have showstopping townhouses on the river that will blow your mind away. People will want to go look at that.
Embassy Gardens is a riverside precinct, yet not all its buildings will sit alongside the River Thames. It makes up for this with stunning landscaping, which Warson describes as one of its best assets.
“It’s got a much more contemplated landscape because it’s not on the river, so it doesn’t benefit, but it benefits from river views,” he says.
A major green space will pass through Embassy Gardens in the form of Linear Park, which extends from Vauxhall Bridge to the Battersea Power Station site. The park will be supplemented by more gardens, a pond, paths and communal courtyards.
Embassy Gardens is a six-hectare site that forms part of the Nine Elms regentrification project on London’s South Bank. It’s in walking distance of Battersea Power Station, which is also undergoing massive regeneration. Battersea will house 4353 homes in a host of new buildings when they are all completed in 2025. By comparison, Embassy Gardens will open 2000 new residences.
British architect Sir Terry Farrell was behind the masterplanning of the project, which has been influenced by the architectural style of New York’s Meatpacking district and London’s Victorian and Edwardian mansion blocks. Farrell is best known for his work throughout Asia and the postmodern design of the MI6 Building at Vauxhall Cross, which houses the headquarters of the United Kingdom’s foreign intelligence agency.
Interior designing for the first phase of apartments was completed by Australian firm Woods Bagot, who went with a classic 1950s US theme. Timber flooring, stone benchtops and expansive windows create an open, airy feel.
By London standards, these apartments are quite roomy – suites come in at 39 square metres, one-bedders at 51.2 square metres, and two-bedders at 91.1 square metres.
What not to do is a common lesson Warson picks up from his trips to international property developments, but he says a clever use of space at Embassy Gardens was something he put on his “to do” list.
“I found the space was used really well in London; they’re almost better at it than we are in Australia,” he says.
Embassy Gardens is broken up into three phases of construction. The first stage is now complete and occupied and the second is underway. In the first release of one and two-bedroom apartments, which were on the 10th floor or higher and overlook the sky pool, prices started at £1million ($1.69 million). Garden apartments started at £650,000 ($1.1 million).
The project’s flashy US-themed extras include the Maureen O’Hara private cinema, the Belmont indoor pool, the Edison Suite of meeting rooms and workstations and the Beckett lounge. Complementing the sky-pool is rooftop decking with a bar and spa. Embassy Gardens will also have its own shopping and dining area, called New Union Square, where locals can visit restaurants, bars, cafes, and shops.