The Sky Pool, which spans the Legacy Buildings of the Embassy Gardens, is the world’s first “floating” swimming pool. This incredible project has been all the talk in the pool industry and on social media alike for the last few years. The 25-meter-long acrylic pool will allow members of the development’s exclusive club to glide between 35-meter-high buildings next month when it opens.
The Sky Pool Concept
In 2013, a group of innovative minds met to discuss the new location of Embassy Gardens’ outdoor swimming pool. They came to the conclusion that the only viable space for the pool area was between the Legacy Buildings. The builders decided to challenge themselves with something that they had never attempted before. They envisioned that the luxury pool should located in the sky, clear enough for swimmers to see the ground and people below to see folks swimming ethereally above.
“The vision for the Sky Pool stemmed from a desire to push the boundaries in the capability of construction and engineering.”Sean Mulryan, Ballymore Chairman
‘We like to push the boundaries on all aspects of design, 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,’ Mulryan added.
Architects, engineers, and consultants have been researching and designing the pool layout at a factory in Colorado for the past year. The groundbreaking pool would be a feat of engineering that has never been seen before, breaking the limits of design and engineering capability. It’s a complex and difficult process for which they have enlisted the support of some of the world’s brightest minds.
The spectacular outdoor pool will, for the first time in the world, connect two residential buildings on the 10th floor, allowing residents to swim from one to the other. Residents will be able to relax and enjoy views of London landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, London Eye, and new US Embassy next door from the sky deck.
The Sky Deck at top of the two towers includes a pool, summer lounge, and Orangery. The pool is 25 meters long, 5 meters wide, and 3 meters deep, with a water depth of 1.2 meters. The experience is intended to be more similar to an aquarium than a pool, and was designed by Arup Associates with expert input from Eckersley O’Callaghan and aquarium designers Reynolds.
- On May 19, the much-anticipated Sky Pool, which floats 10 stories between two London skyscrapers, will open.
- Swimmers will be able to float 35 meters in the air, with unparalleled views of the city, in the 25-meter-long, three-meter-deep crystal clear pool.
- The opening, which will be live streamed and feature top synchronised swimming team Aquabatix, will be hosted by TV host Roman Kemp next month.
- The Embassy Gardens development, which includes 2,000 luxury homes apartments, a retail space, office space, bars, restaurants, and landscaped gardens, is highlighted by the Sky Pool.
- ‘The vision for the Sky Pool derived from a desire to push the limits in the capability of architecture and engineering,’ said Sean Mulryan, Ballymore Chairman.
When swimming lengths between the buildings in the new residential neighborhood of Nine Elms, Vauxhall, swimmers will be able to take in views of central London. The iconic structure, suspended 35 meters above the ground, will provide views of the House of Parliament, the London Eye, and the city skyline of London.
The 25-meter-long, 5-meter-wide, and 3-meter-deep infinity pool, which is the first of its kind and completely transparent, is set to become England’s most exclusive swimming pool. A marvel in structural engineering that will support an estimated 375 tons of water in mid air.
When looking down 35 meters below, swimmers can feel as if they are in an aquarium rather than an outdoor pool, nestled between the sky and the sea. Swimmers will be able to float between the buildings with ease.
The Sky Pool was transported and installed by a team of specialist architects, engineers, and consultants who had just inches of tolerance when positioning the structure between the two houses.
As seen in the video, the team, which included architects Arup Associates, engineers Eckersley O’Callaghan, and aquarium designers Reynolds, shipped the massive pool to London and carefully craned it into place.
The Sky Pool, which was originally supposed to open this summer, is the entire focal piece of EcoWorld Ballymore’s Embassy Gardens creation. The $3.5 billion dollar project includes 2,000 homes and luxury apartments, a retail space, office space, bars, restaurants, and landscaped gardens designed around the new US Embassy.
Featured Photo Credit: Embassy Gardens
Rooftop Pool Collapses in Brazil
Incredible footage shows suspended pool collapse in Brazil.
An incredible video is making the rounds on social media. The footage shows a suspended swimming pool suddenly collapsing and flooding a parking garage located below it.
According to a timestamp in closed circuit television footage, the incident occurred on April 22 around 10 p.m. local time in Vitória, Brazil. Luckily it appears that there are no people in the video, which begins with a small lap pool surrounded by plants and flood lights. The footage is grainy but you can still make out what is going on clear enough where you can see the pool’s bottom suddenly give way. The entire floor of the pool and thousands of gallons of water suddenly flooding the entire parking structure below. This suspended rectangular pool bottom just completely collapses, leaving just a small portion of the pool’s blue-tiled bottom still hanging on by a thread.
The footage then cuts to the parking structure underneath the pool, which is overflowing with water, stone, and other construction materials. The torrential flood of pool water gushing into the garage is so powerful that it propels a parked car forward a few feet.
“No residents were injured,” according to Reddit user leandroas. “The building had to be evacuated after the incident. The building was built in 2018 and the construction company is paying the hotel cost for the 270 residents, they will be able to return to the building on the 27th.”
We asked luxury pool builder Cameron Rhodes of Southern Poolscapes how a catastrophic failure like this one could occur. “Failures of this nature are common in areas of the world with poor construction standards. If the rebar isn’t encased properly the entire reinforced concrete structure can fail”.
In this case, the silver lining of the story was that nobody was injured. The same thing wasn’t true in the story of a rooftop pool located in China which collapsed in 2015, which killed 14 people and badly injured another 33.
Jimi Smith on Pool Photography
Jimi Smith is one of the most widely acclaimed pool photographers today. We profile his work as one of the leading luxury pool photographers.
Jimi Smith is probably one of the most popular photographers on the planet that you never even heard of. That is of course, you happen to be in the pool industry. In which case, his name is immediately associated with stunning photographs of over the top inground swimming pools.
Although Jimi has only been shooting pools for less than 5 years, his reputation has already begun to grow. His eye for detail and ability to stage a pool has led him to all points of the globe. Jimi’s talent as a professional high end photographer of luxury inground pools is now well established.
How Jimi Smith Got Started Photographing Pools
We had the opportunity to discuss pool photography and chat with Smith for over an hour. In the course of our discussion we learned alot of interesting things about this up and coming star in the pool industry. His journey as one of the world’s leading pool photographers began roughly five years ago while he was living in the Virgin Islands.
“At the time, I was working in a scuba shop. I had studied photography in school. Whenever I’d get off work at the dive shop, I’d head down to the local beaches and take photographs on my off hours. Before long, I began selling photos for postcards and got really good at it.” Smith explained.
“I started to build up a name as a photographer and built a website that year. I’d post my photos to social media and was building up quite a big following.” Smith continued. “It was at this point in time, I got a Facebook message from a buddy of mine from high school named Shane Leblanc of Selective Designs who was making quite a name for himself as a traveling design consultant.”
“Shane Leblanc asked me, are you willing to travel to shoot photographs? Next thing I knew, I’m on a flight with my gear. I wound up shooting 4 pools in 3 days. That was it, I was hooked.”JIMI SMITH – luxury Pool photographer
“I had no clue pools like this even existed in peoples backyards. Shane introduced me to that whole world. He had gone through the Genesis program and was doing really incredible jobs. He’s definitely at the top of his game right now.” said Smith.
Word of Mouth Lead to a new Career
As often happens in the pool industry, word began to get around about Smith’s abilities. That year Leblanc entered Smith’s photographs in several design competitions and won numerous awards including the APSP International Award of Excellence – Gold award. Pool Builders were impressed at the caliber of the photos Leblanc had submitted and Shane was more than happy to recommend his friend Smith as the photographer who had so expertly captured his amazing designs.
That was a watershed moment for Smith’s career and that is when it truly began to take off. From that moment on, Smith began to receive requests from all over the country from some of the most cutting edge and well-known builders in the swimming pool industry. It was a far cry from what he had been doing only a few years prior. Smith says he still can’t believe how fortunate he is to be able to do what he truly enjoys doing.
“I fly all over the world now for work. When I’m traveling people often ask me what I do for a living. I just take out my cellphone and show them photos of the pools I’ve photographed. ” said Smith.
Smith is an unassuming and incredibly talented young man. He’s a veritable open book and fountain of knowledge when it comes to photographing pools. Jimi took the time to share a few insider pro tips with our readers to help them make their own photos stand out. He routinely consults with pool builders that want amazing photographs of their work but may not have a pro photographer on staff to shoot their pools.
Advice From Jimi Smith on how to take amazing Pool Photos…
“More often than not, pool builders want to photograph the completed project before it’s truly ready. Ideally, you want to wait until the landscaping is completed, not just the swimming pool.”JIMI SMITH – PROFESSIONAL POOL PHOTOGRAPHER
Smith also suggested until waiting for the right time of year to photograph the pool area. “A large percentage of what makes my photos so appealing is also the house and other outdoor living amenities. Waiting until the landscaping, outdoor kitchen or pergola is completed can really help fill in the negative space and adds a big impact to the photos.” said Smith.
Taking world class Pool Photos is all about timing…
“I’d also advise pool builders not to wait too long until after the backyard is completed before taking photographs. You want the backyard to look pristine, and unlived in for these types of photos.” said Smith who added that he often spends time positioning furniture and setting lighting to properly stage his shots.
He advises to take multiple shots and from different angles of the pool to highlight the features and amenities of the backyard. “Quite often, I see pools photographed, where it looks like the photographer was trying to cram in the entire backyard into a single shot. Your eye doesn’t know what to look at first.”
Smith, who has an incredible eye for detail also has an in-depth knowledge of operating a pool. Quite frequently he performs unassisted out in the field. He’s become quite capable of operating all of the equipment, water and fire features, automation, and lighting in the pool. Smith said that he does this on nearly every job he shoots. He offers a key piece of advice here for anyone trying to photograph a pool at night.
“The golden hour is right before sunset.” said Smith. “It’s during this key timeframe that you’re able to get great shots of all the details of the pool. You can still see the led lighting in the pool if you turn it on. You also get some ambient light from the setting sun which helps to create these dramatic layered looks.”
Since Jimi Smith has seen so many luxury pools over the years, he has developed a critical eye for quality of workmanship as well as design. Smith says he can often spot quality construction when he attempts to level his camera tripod. “Frequently on a high end build, I will hardly have to adjust the level at all on my tripod. The pool area on some of these jobs I’ve photographed is so perfectly level that I barely have to make any adjustments.”
Working with Jimi Smith
One of the major reasons that Jimi gets so much work in the pool industry has to do with his prowess and overall knowledge of how inground swimming pools function and operate. Over the years, Smith has spent considerable time upping his pool IQ. His comfort level in operating all the components and features of even the most sophisticated luxury pools is only matched by his abilities behind the camera. Consequently, he’s become a favorite of major pool builders across the country who have come to rely on his particular skillset.
Seeing as he works with so many builders, we asked Jimi a question he confessed he gets alot… “Who is your favorite pool builder?”
“It’s hard to pick and single out one builder. I’ve shot for so many great designers.” said Smith. “Randy Angell is one designer out of Dallas, TX whose work I really appreciate. He’s a big believer of ‘form follows function’ which appeals to my personal aesthetic.”
We asked Jimi which designer he hasn’t worked with yet but is eager to shoot for. “Kirk Bianchi is one designer I’d love to work with. He’s out of Scottsdale, AZ but has spent alot of time overseas in Japan. His designs are exquisitely unique and have an Asian influence that you don’t find very often in the pool industry.”
It was definitely a privilege to talk photography with Jimi and you can certainly see for yourself why his skills are in such high demand these days. Interested in hiring Jimi to photograph your pools? Check out his website https://www.jimismithphotography.com/ or follow him on Instagram @jimismithphotography.
Photo Credits: Jimi Smith Photography
Pool Designer Credits: Danny Wang, Randy Angell, Ryan Hughes
The Swimming Pool From It’s a Wonderful Life
Recently while watching It’s a Wonderful Life, I noticed the swimming pool scene where George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) and Marth Hatch (Donna Reed) are at the school dance. It’s a defining scene where a retractable basketball court opens up to reveal a hidden swimming pool beneath it. As George & Martha are dancing they don’t notice the floor begin to open. The cheering crowds spur them on even further, as they think everyone is cheering their dancing they fail to see they are dancing right over the edge and plunge into the pool.
The Pool Scene from It’s a Wonderful Life
Many of the other people at the dance dive right on in and an impromptu pool party ensues. It’s a touching scene in a must see movie that should be at the top of everyones holiday movie list. Many people believe that the swimming pool wasn’t real. Frank Capra the director of the film had the entire set of the town of Bedford Falls created on an 89 acre back lot at RKO Pictures in Culver City.
The set was actually inspired from the real life town of Seneca Falls in New York. Film buffs suggested that the pool itself was also a prop. As it turns out, according to Snopes.com who did the fact checking for us, the pool has been identified and is real. It’s known as the Swim Gym and is a Beverly Hills landmark. The pool was built by the WPA historical pool contractors in their own right, and designed by Stiles O. Clements in 1939.
Historical Land Mark Swimming Pool Has Been in Many Movies
The retractable pool belongs to Beverly Hills High School and was actually used in the filming of the movie. What’s even more interesting is that the pool is still around today! The pool itself is 25 yards long and is still used in swimming competitions. With the turn of a key the inground swimming pool the retractable pool cover converts back to a basketball court / dance floor.
It's a wonderful life (east coast feed) about to show the pool under the basketball court that still is there at my high school. #Beverly— Adam Wohl (@adamwohl) December 25, 2012
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