World's First 'Floating' Pool Links Two Buildings Up in the Air

The Sky Pool makes for a thrilling swim with its transparent acrylic floor.
Fabienne Lang

Residents at Embassy Gardens in London, U.K. can now swim in an 82 foot- (25 m) long pool between two high-rise buildings, 115 feet (35 m) up in the air, while they look straight down to the ground through its transparent 14-inch (35.5 cm) thick acrylic floor. 

It surely makes for a thrilling experience. In fact, it makes for a one-of-a-kind experience, given this is the world's first high-rise see-through pool that connects two buildings mid-air. 

The Sky Pool was designed by HAL Architects, including engineer firms Arup and Eckersley O'Callaghan, and U.S. acrylic fabricator Reynolds Polymer Technologies.

Aside from being a sight for sore eyes, the engineering and design behind this project are highly admirable. 

World's First 'Floating' Pool Links Two Buildings Up in the Air
The Sky Pool viewed from below. Source: Reynolds Polymer/YouTube

Given the project wanted to build a transparent bottom to the pool, your mind might jump straight to glass. However, the team used acrylic instead of glass for this project as "it's a lot lighter, its clarity is much better, the ability to create it in one uniform piece is much better, and you end up with a beautiful structure that you wouldn't have it it were in glass," explained Paul Gardner, Vice President of Engineering, Quality, and Safety at Reynolds Palmer.

Gardner also mentioned that this type of project has never been done before. 

The reason it's not been an easy task to create is because of the complex engineering that goes behind connecting two high-rise buildings 10 stories up with a pool. The pool needs to support the weight of the water, as well as the amount of pressure created on both sides of it, now to mention wind factor had to be taken into account. 

On top of that, high-rise buildings generally move a little due to wind load and foundation settlement, and they do so separately from one another. So creating a link between two buildings that move independently from one another was another major factor to consider. The team managed to overcome this challenge by not rigidly connecting the pool at both ends, so it can slide and maintain weightlessness, said Eckersley O'Callaghan.

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And as Gardner stated, transporting such a large structure that weighs approximately 122,000 pounds (55,338 kg) from Grand Junction in Colorado to the center of London halfway across the world was a challenge.

The Sky Pool went on a roadtrip that saw roads closed off, traffic lights and junction signs removed, and police escorts across to Texas before undertaking a three week overwater journey to the Netherlands. From there it went across to the Port of Tilbury in London and was transported up the River Thames, finally arriving at its final destination thanks to the use of a 840 ton mobile crane, reported NewAtlas.

"The design and engineering that went into Sky Pool involved many people across multiple continents," Declan McLaughlin, CEO of Reynolds Polymer said. "Sometimes you are presented with challenges that seem insurmountable, Sky Pool was one of those. However, it inspired our organization to go above and beyond and execute an inspirational iconic idea of a floating pool."

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