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Swimming with the pigeons: London's new 'SkyPool'

4 Sep 15  | BMS & Building Services

Swimming with the pigeons: London's new 'SkyPool'

In what developers are claiming is an architectural world-first, the new south-west London neighbourhood of Nine Elms is soon to be graced with a ‘SkyPool’, linking two residential buildings at the 10th storey.

No less than 35 metres (114ft) from the ground, the suspended swimming pool will be transparent and structure-free, measuring 25m in length, 5m in width and 3m in depth, with a water depth of 1.5m. All importantly, as I’m sure most would agree, it will be constructed of 8-inch (20cm) thick glass.

Swimmers and rooftop dwellers (residents only, of course!) will be afforded views of the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye and the new US Embassy. A ‘sky deck’ adorns the top of each building linked by the pool, incorporating a spa, summer bar and orangery. A walkway will also link the rooftops for those who prefer to remain a little drier. 


The pool is the vision of Sean Mulryan, Chairman and CEO of Ballymore Group, in conjunction with the scheme’s architects, and engineering giant, Arup Associates, and was designed with specialist input from Eckersley O’Callaghan and aquarium designers Reynolds Polymer Technology.


"My vision for the sky pool stemmed from a desire to push the boundaries in the capability of construction and engineering. I wanted to do something that had never been done before. The experience of the pool will be truly unique: it will feel like floating through the air in central London."

Sean Mulryan, CEO Ballymore Group



The Embassy Gardens development is part of the larger Nine Elms project, which is intended to rejuvenate and revitalise the inner-city district of Battersea. This development will create nearly 2,000 new homes, as well as landscaped gardens, new bars and restaurants, al fresco and community spaces, and a new riverfront walkway threading from Embassy Gardens to Battersea Park.

The buildings to be linked by the pool are part of the second phase of development for Embassy Gardens, and will be released to the market later this month, shortly after the first residents have moved into the ‘phase one’ buildings, with prices for one-bed apartments starting at around £660,000 and penthouses selling for some £5.5million. The first phase of the development went on sale in 2012 and is fully sold out.

Critics claim that homes in the exclusive development are being marketed primarily to wealthy markets in Asia and the Middle East., pricing locals out of the market entirely. Indeed, according to The Guardian, most of the development sold so far has been bought by the Asian investor market.

Whether this attempt to inject new life into the battered old borough of Battersea will succeed remains to be seen, but it is undoubtedly a marvel of ingenuity and engineering and a testament to the technological progress the building industry has seen inrecent decades.  

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