Glass-bottomed swimming pool to be suspended 10 storeys above south London


A glass "sky pool" is planned to be suspended between apartment blocks in London's new Nine Elms quarter, close to Battersea Power Station.

The 25-metre-long pool will link two blocks of apartments that form part of the 2,000-home Embassy Gardens development by London architects HAL, now in its second stage.

At five metres wide and three metres deep, the pool will allow residents to swim between the two buildings while enjoying views of London through the pool's completely transparent 20-centimetre glass casing.

Intended to resemble an aquarium, the pool was designed by architecture firm Arup Associates with specialist advice from structural design engineers Eckersley O' Callaghan and aquarium designers Reynolds.

The residential blocks, developed by the Ballymore Group, will also feature a rooftop bar, spa and orangery. An additional bridge forms a second link, allowing residents and visitors to walk between the buildings as well as paddle. Ballymore is calling the pool "a world first".

"My vision for the sky pool stemmed from a desire to push the boundaries in the capability of construction and engineering," said Ballymore Group chairman and CEO, Sean Mulryan. "I wanted to do something that had never been done before."

Glass swimming pool suspended ten storeys over London

"The Sky Pool's transparent structure is the result of significant advancements in technologies over the last decade. The experience of the pool will be truly unique, it will feel like floating through the air in central London," he added.

The riverside Nine Elms area – situated adjacent to Battersea Power Station – is currently undergoing extensive redevelopment as part of a masterplan by Foster + Partners and Frank Gehry.

Two additional tube stations will link central London to new area, which will feature a new public square designed by BIG. Last month, the firm's founder Bjarke Ingels unveiled plans to turn the chimneys at the iconic power station into giant sparking Tesla coils.

Construction on the Embassy Gardens Legacy Buildings apartment blocks is planned for completion in 2017.

Glass swimming pool suspended ten storeys over London

Elsewhere in London, Kings Cross is home to the UK's first man-made bathing pond, conceived as both an art installation and a public facility.

Earlier this year Dezeen interviewed Studio Octopi architect Chris Romer-Lee, who successfully funded the Thames Baths – a new floating swimming pool on the Thames – through a Kickstarter campaign.

  • On first impression it seems pretty cool. On further consideration it seems just a bit silly.

    • Richard Thethird

      To me, it looks like a terrorist magnet. I wonder how resistant it is even to a bullet? Eight-inch glass or acrylic…

  • Tom

    Yay, more unaffordable London novelty. Can’t wait…

    • ill-liberal

      Grow up.

      • Tom

        In what way is that comment appropriate?

        • ill-liberal

          Your response was childish and bitter sounding. It was very appropriate.

          • Tom

            My remark was opinionated, appropriate and perhaps a little bitter. However responding with just the words ‘Grow up’ simply provokes a response… which is childish.

          • ill-liberal

            It’s just boring when people like you have to turn a cool idea into a reference to some non-existent class war. There are some rich folk around who like to build extravagant things with their dosh, get over it.

          • P1ssy

            Non-existent class war? Bless!

          • cheddarbird

            There is a huge class war. Maybe it’s not come to bloodshed just yet, but it exists, and it will someday.

          • ill-liberal

            Only in your world. Most reasonable people couldn’t care less if someone has a few more quid than them, and can afford a flash London pad.

          • Tom

            No it’s boring when your response criticises my opinion but offers no alternative, which is kind of the point of this comments section. If you believe the class war is ‘non-existent’, then have fun swimming in your pool.

          • ill-liberal

            Of course it does, so stop moaning that there are rich people in London who can afford fancy swimming pools when you (or I ) can’t.

          • steve

            What would be the alternative? It’s a flat and a pool you can’t have. If that’s war in your mind, you need broader horizons.

        • stpetersburg

          Guess yay is considered a bad word in some places.

      • provocateour

        YOU GROW UP!

        • steve


  • The idea sounds and looks very attractive, but the sight people will get when the pool gets dirty won’t.

    • steve

      If you have the money to have that pool, you have the money to have it cleaned every day.

  • H-J

    You should only be allowed to swim there wearing a Superman costume.

  • Delbert Grady

    Section please.

  • james


  • Troy H

    Something massively Ballard about this. I predict drowned dogs and mass voyeuristic polygamy.

  • Logan Hendricks

    Anyone who doesn’t like this hates fun. I would love to go for a swim there.

    • Tom

      Then I think you better start enquiring about buying a flat.

  • Leo

    This deserves more details, techniques… the glass will bear an enormous weight. If this is feasible, it is quite an achievement. I think it is too much of a show off, but some people might like it.

    • Leo Moriarty

      The water will have a mass too, unless I’ve missed some new development in physics.

      • andrewf1

        That’s obviously what was meant with enormous weight.

        • Leo Moriarty

          Apologies, I misread your comment and assumed incorrectly that you were concerned only with the mass of the glass. Elevated glass-bottomed pools have been done before, I believe.

          My concern is if this proposal was not part of the original design, can the two blocks accommodate the load?

      • Richard Thethird

        I guess you missed the word “bear”. But yes, approx. 10 pounds per gallon of water.

        • Leo Moriarty

          As per my apology at the time.

    • bnh_b

      Agree. It’s all in the details. Feasible? Far from it, but if successful, it would be a huge engineering achievement. Only time will tell…

    • Richard Thethird

      It will be eight inches thick, whatever they use. I would use acrylic; that’s what they use for those private submersible subs.

    • Сильвестр Пацьків

      We have such glass.

      We have concrete timeless earthquakes.

  • vgcamara

    Would like to see the overflowing water system. Seems impossible that the final pool can look as clean as the image shown, but once again, 90% of architecture nowadays purely is based on renders. :( No need to mention an open pool in London’s weather…

  • Machin

    That is a really really large and heavy piece of glass. Maybe seven meters across? I’m really curious about the logistics. Like, does it come on a truck? And from where? Train car from the factory to the depot? I’d love to see a documentary on this, if it ever happens.

    • Oliver Pitt

      There is a very handy river right next door for large deliveries.

    • It’s all in your imagination.

    • Leo Moriarty

      Best guess? Helicopter it in in one piece.

  • Goldenarm

    Does London experience earthquakes?

    • Mr Fun

      Very small ones, very occasionally. Basically, no.

  • EckersleyO’Callaghan

    Great article! However, could you correct a couple of things in the article? We are structural design engineers for this project. We offer marine design, but certainly not in this instance. Arup Associates are the architects. Thanks!

    • Hi, thanks for flagging this up. We’ve amended the article accordingly. Best, Ross/Dezeen

  • Kay

    I read somewhere else that the glass panes will be between 8-10 inches thick. That sort of padding will be strong enough. I’m just thinking of the edges, what barriers will there be to protect the swimmers.

    PS, open to residents only. Those who can afford the £700k+ price tag or the lucky “affordable home” few.

  • spadestick

    Who wants free chlorinated showers standing underneath?

  • Muslimgauze

    I’d like to see this built. Probably has nothing to do with the render.

  • Ernie Alvarez

    The pool looks like a lot of fun. I would not mind going for a swim there. It seems like the pool was an afterthought because the buildings in between are simply ugly. Perhaps they should have started the design from the pool and worked from there to make the buildings just as fun as the pool.

    • Correction: the pool is the thing in between the ugly buildings.

  • How do you clean this without walking through the edges of the pool?

  • That’s one way of noticing the body at the bottom!

  • ron l m

    Keep your meat curtains tucked in girls.

  • jg

    Bad feng shui…

    • Leo Moriarty


  • We used to call that an “E-ticket” in SoCal.

  • And the BBC report says the material is to be acrylic:

    We’ll see!

  • Kevin Carney

    Not going to happen. At least not the way it’s pictured. That’s 316 tons of water they are talking about; over the tops of people walking/driving underneath. No chance.

    • Luboš Chýle

      Exactly, no way as it is pictured. Just a pure glass. Steel or concrete structure will be noticeable.

  • bnh_b

    Achieving the span with just glass is the obvious challenge. The junction details would be very interesting.
    Exciting concept and if successfully built, this would be a huge breakthrough in structural glass engineering. Will be keeping an eye on this one. Let’s hope it doesn’t all spill over.

  • bnh_b

    My thoughts exactly.

  • angels bro angeslss bro

    Why don’t they spend money on poor people rather than building this kind of pool. It’s a waste of money.

  • ish

    I don’t get how this works, structurally.

  • Penny Price

    I love this idea, but can it be more than just a folly in the sky? Can Arup use the mass of water to moderate the local microclimate and reduce the heating demands of the building for instance? Now if a scheme could do something like that too it really would be good!

  • Suzan Liu

    Very inventive concept!

  • Uliy Zhelezarov

    In 2018 they will make the first glass sky toilets where people can enjoy the panoramic view instead of reading an old newspaper.

  • Kat H

    Few questions. What happens when it rains? Does it flood and flow over onto the ground?

    What happens in winter and most of the summer when the weather’s miserable? Apart from being cool what’s the point?

  • Porst

    I’m too poor to even look at those pictures.

  • Richard Thethird

    Whoever did the illustration made a real mess of the balconies on the right side. They should be angled in the same direction as that dark, rectangular screen just above them. They are not level, as depicted here. (Either that, or the balconies are not rectangular).

  • Are they prepared for what will happen in the event of an earthquake? I can only foresee disaster.