King’s Cross Urban Plunge: Construction starts on natural swimming pool

First public natural pool will be an art project.

Following on from our recent post on urban swimming and flood conditions – ‘Guzzle’: a transient feature….. Urban swimming” – the proposed natural swimming pool for King’s Cross, London is now under construction.

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Image: Landscape Institute

Construction has started on the UK’s first public natural swimming pond, as part of an art project within London’s King’s Cross Development.  The natural, chemical-free pool has been designed and is being built by natural pool designer Biotop and its UK partner, Kingcombe Aquacare. B|D Landscape Architects is the landscape architect for the project creating space for up to 163 bathers.

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Working in conjunction with the King’s Cross Development Partnership and contractor Carillion, the Kingcombe Aquacare team has begun the first stages of ground works for the complex construction of the 411 m2 pool. Work is expected to be completed by the end of the year, when the pond will then be given time to develop naturally, before its scheduled opening to the public as an arts and events space in Spring 2015.

The King’s Cross natural swimming pond  has been specifically designed to be able to accommodate larger numbers of daily swimmers. Like all natural swimming pools the King’s Cross pond is likely to attract not just people, but also large varieties of insects and wildlife which will create habitats within the planted edges around the pond.

The King’s Cross Pond is a natural bathing pond, an irregular oval in shape, built two metres above ground level and to be 10m wide x 40m long. It is temporarily located at the northerly end of Cubitt Park; its central pool is surrounded by both hard and soft landscaping, including pioneer plants, wild flowers grasses, and bushes so that the environment evolves as the seasons change. The swimming pond will be purified through a natural closed-loop process, using wetland and submerged water plants to filter and sustain clean and clear water. The system does not use any chemicals.

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The Pond has been designed by architects Ooze (Eva Pfannes and Sylvain Hartenberg) and artist Marjetica Potrč as part of the King’s Cross public art program Relay. The installation aims to make us think about, and experience, the relationship between the natural and built environment: the permanence of buildings and by contrast the changing nature of undeveloped spaces; and the city as a locus for both to exist side-by-side. The pool’s location is in one of the largest public spaces at King’s Cross; it will demonstrate a self-sustaining system of water, land, and human interaction.

As befits the sustainability aims of the project, Biotop will be using a number of recycled materials throughout the pond build.

Source: Landscape Institute website

Images: www.kingscross.co.uk

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3 comments

    • landscapeiskingston

      Hi Phil

      Happy to update the post to reference other UK public natural swimming ponds if you can send me info. I haven’t been able to locate others in UK…plenty on mainland Europe tho’

      Quoting John Colton, managing director of Kingcombe Aquacare, “Our experienced team has built all sizes of pools, lakes and water features in a variety of locations, including roof gardens.

      “However, King’s Cross will be our first public natural swimming pond, so we are enjoying the challenge this project provides.

  1. Pingback: ‘Of Soil and Water’ Project – Kings Cross swimming pond nears completion. | Landscape Interface Studio

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