To swim under the open skies at a height of 200 meters, with an unhindered 360° view of the sprawling city of London, will soon be possible. The pool-designing firm Compass Pools recently unveiled the design for the new 55-storey building, Infinity London, atop which the 600,000-liter pool will be located. The shimmering pool will be like a beacon in the sky, as the pool has cast acrylic giving a clear view of the waters. Additionally, the pool will be fitted with a full spectrum of lights. In 2014, the Shangri-La Hotel at the Shard had unveiled its sky pool on the 52nd floor, but the Infinity London pool is a few notches ahead.
The project was born in 2017, and the construction of Infinity London is scheduled to start in early 2020, if all goes as planned. The upper floors will house a five star international hotel, which will utilize the pool for its guests. There are many technical aspects which have been taken into account. Compass Pool’s swimming pool Designer and Technical Director Alex Kemsley is reported to have said, “Architects often come to us to design roof top 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?’
He added,“When we designed the pool, we wanted an uninterrupted view, both above and below the water.” The floor of the pool is also transparent, allowing visitors to see the swimmers and sky above.” Addressing the issue of how the people will enter the pool, Alex said, “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 litres 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!”
Other technical features include a built-in anemometer to monitor the wind speed, which 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.
For heating the 1.4 meter deep pool, an innovative system has been designed such that will use waste energy from the air condition system for the building.The hot gas 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.
Addressing concerns about lifeguards, Alex said that underwater cameras are fitted, which will trigger the alarm if someone is underwater for a considerable time. Additionally, the lifeguards will be in the water, attired in wet suits like Dolphin trainers, and with water proof communication devices.
Alex Kemsley is a former President of the British Swimming Pool Federation and Chairman of the British and Irish Spa and Hot Tub Association.