Public Natural Swimming Pools – Kings Cross, London
THE ASSIGNMENT: Creation of the UK’s First Public Natural Swimming Pool
As part of the 60-acre redevelopment of Kings Cross the property developers, Argent, were obliged to provide public realm art work to satisfy their planning obligations. The last of these was entitled ‘Of Soil and Water’ and was designed by Dutch Architects, Ooze and Slovenian artist Marjetica PotrČ. The rationale behind their concept was to create an urban oasis right in the heart of the building site.
Kingcombe Aquacare were engaged for the technical design of the pool in conjunction with process design by their Austrian partner, Biotop. Working as part of a larger team who were engaged to design the wider landscape and services Kingcombe’s designers provided the pool specification for this landmark project. One particular challenge was finding a solution to overcome the nutrient loading in the water source -which was 160 times greater than required.
We undertook the technical construction of the upper section of the pool during winter 2014 which included the use of some innovative sustainable products, waterproof lining and installation of the filtration components. Working as a specialist sub-contractor for Carillion, Kingcombe had the technical ability, track record and safety record to meet with their strict requirements.
On completion the natural swimming pool was filled using a percentage of water filtered through a specialist ion exchange unit. This assisted with controlling nutrient levels in the first instance. Filling with water represented a project milestone, and our phase one deadline, which we managed to achieve despite battling with typically British winter weather.
During spring 2015 we undertook the final water conditioning, aquatic planting and commissioning before final handover in April 2015.
The pool has been a real success with July/August 2015 being 99% subscribed. The pool received over 10,000 visitors between May and July 2015. It has attracted international media attention with over 160 written press articles about the natural swimming pool and over 20 pieces of broadcast coverage.
Notes: Volume, 600m3. Surface Area, 411m2. Design life, 2 years. Daily number of swimmers, 163.