Work begins on UK's first public natural swimming pool

Work has begun this week on the UK's first ever public natural swimming pond - part of the ongoing transformation of the Kings Cross area in London.

Artist's impression - provided by Ooze Architects
Artist's impression - provided by Ooze Architects

The natural, chemical-free pool has been designed and built by natural pool designers BIOTOP and its UK partner, Kingcombe Aquacare, based in Crewkerne in Somerset, which have worked with King’s Cross Development Partnership, and contractors Carillion on the project.

The Kingcombe Aquacare team has begun the first stages of ground works for the complex construction of the 411 m2 pool, which reaches 2.8m at its deepest point. 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 idea of the pool is that up to 163 bathers a day will be able to swim and view the rapidly expanding Kings Cross Development.

Until now natural swimming pools, which have been built in the UK since around 2008, have only been installed in private homes or hotels. 

Kingcombe Aquacare Managing director John Colton said: "Our experienced team has built all sizes of pools, lakes and water features in a variety of locations, including roof gardens. 

"However, this will be our first public natural swimming pond, so we are enjoying the challenge this project provides. We hope this high profile site will demonstrate the practical benefits of natural swimming ponds which operate entirely free of chemicals."

The pool will be purified naturally by a specially designed 180 sqm planted regeneration zone, supported by BIOTOP’s patented filter and animal-friendly skimmer system. 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.

King’s Cross is the largest mixed use development in single ownership to be developed in central London for over 150 years.  The original concept for the swimming pond within the development was created by Ooze Architects (Eva Pfannes & Sylvain Hartenberg) and Marjetica Potrc.

Austrian-based BIOTOP were the original inventors of the natural swimming pool and pond concept in the 1980s.


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