Death-defying swimming pools are set to become the newest architectural trend in central London, allowing visitors to float over 656 ft. (200 meters) above the capital’s skyline.
Pool designers at Compass Pools have developed Infinity London, the only building in the world to incorporate a 360-degree infinity pool, according to the company. The concept, also referred to by the Greek lemniscate symbol (∞), features a 174-gallon (600,000-liters) pool built right on top of a 55-story building.
The pool is made from cast acrylic rather than glass, as this material transmits light at a similar wavelength to water so that the pool will look perfectly clear. The floor of the pool is also transparent, allowing visitors to see the swimmers and sky above. Swimmers will access the pool through a rotating spiral staircase based on the door of a submarine, rising from the pool floor when someone wants to get in or out. Other advanced technical features include a built-in anemometer to monitor the wind speed. This is linked to a computer-controlled building management system to ensure the pool stays at the right temperature and water doesn’t get blown down to the streets below.
Boasting an innovative twist on renewable energy, the pool’s heating system will use waste energy from the air conditioning system for the building. The hot gas that is produced as a by-product of creating cold air in the building will run through a heat exchanger to heat the water for the pool. The pool is also fitted with a full spectrum of lights, which will give the building the appearance of a sparkling jewel-topped torch at night.
Alex Kemsley, Compass Pool’s swimming pool designer and technical director, noted, “Architects often come to us to design rooftop infinity pools, but rarely do we get a say in the building design because the pool is usually an afterthought. But on this project, we actually started with the pool design and essentially said, ‘how do we put a building underneath this?’ When we designed the pool, we wanted an uninterrupted view, both above and below the water.”
Kemsley added, “Swimming in the SkyPool at The Shard, it’s quite a weird feeling to have helicopters flying past at your level, but this pool takes it a step further. Pop your goggles on and with a 360-degree view of London from 220m up, it really will be something else—but it’s definitely not one for the acrophobic!”
Infinity London could kick off construction as early as 2020 if all the partners and contractors are confirmed. It will have a five-star international hotel on the top floors of the building with the pool used by the guests.
Commenting on the design, Alex continued: “We faced some quite major technical challenges to this building, the biggest one being how to actually get into the pool. Normally a simple ladder would suffice, but we didn’t want stairs on the outside of the building or in the pool as it would spoil the view—and obviously you don’t want 600,000 liters of water draining through the building either. The solution is based on the door of a submarine, coupled with a rotating spiral staircase which rises from the pool floor when someone wants to get in or out—the absolute cutting edge of swimming pool and building design and a little bit James Bond to boot.”