In London they are building swimming pools in the sky
When I first saw the images of the glass swimming poll in the sky on Designboom, I wondered if it was a remake of Star Trek IV where Scotty tries to talk to a computer through a mouse and then immediately gives away the formula for transparent aluminum, altering the future in the process. Surely that is the only way anyone could manage to build this at a reasonable price.
But then I remembered that this is London Calling, where architecture and swimming pools do not have to be built at a reasonable price, because they are being sold to rich people from other countries who are parking their money. And I was going to do my usual snarky complaining about how New York and London shouldn't be building these safety deposit boxes in the sky when citizens cannot afford housing.
But Olly Wainwright of the Guardian beat me to it, he is the King of Snark.
Designed by engineering giant Arup Associates, with aquarium specialists Reynolds, the 25-metre-long pool will be completely “structure free” and made of 20cm thick glass sheets, through which swimmers will be able to gaze at the lesser residents of Wandsworth below. Not that there will be much street life to behold: the £1bn Embassy Gardens scheme will be London’s most secure residential zone, its mighty blocks of 2,000 luxury flats huddled in a fortified arc around the new US Embassy.
Views of the embassy from the pool are trumpeted as a key selling point. But it is a curious decision to suspend an all-glass bridge beside a building that believes itself to be at such risk of a terror attack that it cowers behind a 30-metre-deep bomb-blast zone.
He notes that the pool was the result of an investment by a Malaysian property group bizarrely called EcoWorld, adding " a big dose of bling for the Asian investor market".
Other projects in London have swimming pools in the sky, Versace designed pools and even a glass bottomed pool in Hackney, a formerly rough part of town that's now so trendy.
Meet the Warehaus by Union Developments, a boxy brick hulk of aspirational warehousey flats, on the market from half a million for a pokey one-bed. Just as Tom Dixon drew inspiration from Greenwich, the Warehaus is apparently “constructed from materials traditionally used and found in Hackney”. Old beer cans and syringes? No, “brass, wood and steel” is the traditional Hackney palette of course.
Hail to the King of Architectural Snark. And if you have not seen the movie, here's the Transparent Aluminum scene from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.