Heavenly Swimming

Heavenly Swimming

Embassy Garden, Sky Pool

Dream or reality: Will it be possible in the future to swim through the air in the heart of London?

Some people report that they flew in their dreams as if they were swimming through the air. London-based engineering office ARUP Associates soon might make such dreams come true. Visualizations of a dreamlike pioneering project recently went viral and earned amazement all around the globe: a tiny person swimming through a bridge seemingly consisting of nothing but water in a height of 35 m, from one ten-story apartment block’s roof to another.

14 m “through the air”

In this vision by ARUP Associates, this Sky Pool connects two of three apartment blocks with each other that have been designed by HAL Architects. With this pool, the architects do not only make a dream come true but also break with the good old convention of bridges leading over the water but not consisting of it. Just as the usual small swimming pool, the pool is going to be 25 m long, while 14 m will be in mid-air, which is the most unusual thing thinkable of a pool so far.

Like Fish in an Aquarium

Since this is presumably (see below) the first project of its kind, ARUP Associates are working closely with specialist aquarium designers, Reynolds, and structural design engineers, Eckersley O’Callaghan. And it somehow fits very well into the picture that aquarium designers are in on it as well because the swimmers do not only get their real dream experience but can also be observed swimming from the outside, just like fish in an aquarium. By the way: this “aquarium” is apparently going to consist of 20 cm acrylic without any supports.

Nine Elms Regeneration

The apartment blocks including the Sky Pool are part of the Embassy Gardens city development project. This, however, is part of the regeneration of London’s Nine Elms district around the three icons of Battersea Power Station, New US Embassy and the New Covent Garden Market, following a master plan by Foster and Partners and Frank Gehry. The plans of this project aim at transforming the semi-derelict light-industrial district into an ultramodern residential and business district, where 18.000 new homes and 25.000 new permanent jobs will be created.

Races, Questions, and more Dreams

Like so many former pioneers on the most different fields, ARUP Associates are not the only ones currently working on a heavenly pool. In the Indian city of Surat, the construction of the five-tower “Twilight Star” have already started and will be completed in mid-2016, which is one year before the completion of the Embassy Gardens project. Two of its towers will be connected by a very similar and not any less spectacular transparent pool. So, it is a bit like it used to be with space travel. Who is going to be the first to make us swim through the air? Considering the Sky Tower in London, however, I wonder who and how many people at a time will be allowed for a swim. Also: will the client have architecture journalists flown in for testing sessions? One can always dream…

Project details


ARUP Associates


Start of construction: October 2015


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