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Sky Pool – One on One with the Manufacturers

An in depth look at the engineering marvel that is the Sky Pool

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The iconic Sky Pool in London has finally arrived and the overnight sensation that this pool has become is nothing short of remarkable. One of the most highly anticipated new pool projects, this incredible and instantly iconic pool has been written about incessantly since it was first devised.

This unique see-through acrylic wall pool sits suspended between two towers of the Embassy Gardens in London, England. Recently we had the opportunity to chat with Paul Gardner Vice President of Engineering for Reynolds Polymer, the manufacturers behind this creative and captivating new swimming pool vessel.

In preparation for our meeting, we hopped on one of our favorite social media groups Ask The Masters and found out what questions the pool industry had about the Sky Pool. There were a lot of interesting questions, which was indicative of how fascinated pool builders are about this project.

Sky Pool Has Worldwide Notoriety

We asked Gardner what it was like working on such a high visibility project. “We’re engineers and weren’t thinking about the marketing benefits that early on. Now it’s fun to be on it and we see how exciting it is from that standpoint.” said Gardner.

Given that Reynolds Polymer is a manufacturer of acrylic panels, there are very few companies around the world that could take on a project of the size and magnitude of the Sky Pool. Still, we wanted to know how Reynolds got the nod for this particular project.

A Short List of Manufacturers

Reynolds Polymer is one of a handful of companies in the world that can take on projects of this magnitude.

“Y’know when you do something crazy with acrylic, there is only a few of us that can do that and really only a few that are willing to do it from an engineering standpoint to come up with a good solution, so the field was pretty narrow to begin with.” said Gardner.

“The client came to us pretty quickly.” said Gardner, “We worked on it a long time just to make sure something like this was even feasible.” Reynolds Polymer would go on to secure the design contract as well as the engineering contract shortly after that.

Engineering Hurdles To Overcome

Ultimately, there are probably only a handful of companies around the world that can take on a project of this scope. “When it comes to being monolithically cast, we’re the only ones that do it like that. All of our competitors will laminate. So, they’ll take thinner sheets and glue them together. But in this case getting a monolithically cast part, enabling us to use some of our other methodologies such as signature bonds, that’s the only way you could have done it.” said Gardner.

This particular project had many engineering challenges Reynolds Polymer had to overcome. One of them was accounting for movement from the actual structure of the building. We asked Gardner what his team did from an engineering standpoint to account for settling and movement between the two buildings.

Sky Pool: Engineering of the Vessel

“The swimming pool itself is set up as really an isolated box. On both ends, the acrylic is sitting in a steel tub and that steel tub is then sitting on concrete columns and supported by bearings. The steel tub and the acrylic vessel are cinched together with 2 tension rods underneath which are the only visible structural elements that you can see other than the acrylic. That creates essentially an open top box that can float depending on the movement of the buildings.” said Gardner.

“It can also be adjusted for settling. If there was enough settling, you could get in there and adjust the height of the bearings with either some shims or whatever was necessary to get it back to level.” continued Gardner.

Reynolds Polymer monolithic casting process enabled them to create the 14-inch-thick acrylic panels for the Sky Pool.

Determining the Thickness of the Acrylic

Determining the proper thickness for the vessel encompassed doing finite element analysis, a widely used method for numerically solving differential equations arising in engineering and mathematical modeling. “We had lots of different load cases that we were looking at,” said Gardner, “By running through that and looking at like 15 or 20 load cases, we settled on a thickness. The thickness is really driven by long term stress. How much stress the acrylic can see to enable it to last for decades.”

Analysis of Natural Frequencies – Image Credit: Eckersley O’Callaghan

The acrylic itself is resting on two steel tubs on either end that is supported by cementitious grout between the acrylic and the steel shelves the entire U channel structure is sitting on.

“You don’t build this and test it and expect it to fail.” said Gardner. All of Reynolds engineering and structural analysis was confirmed by an independent third party who determined the engineering specifications were precise. The polymer system of the Sky Pool is expected to last for at least 50 years.

Some of the questions we got from the pool industry pertained to actual seismic activity that may cause the structure to shift. We also wanted to know about the usability of the Sky Pool under real world conditions.

A 3rd party structural analysis was done by Eckersley O’Callaghan

“Fortunately, London is not a very seismically active area. If there is such a thing, the pool is set on a system of bearings. It’s fixed on one side, and it’s allowed to move on the other. If there was any differential movement whether that’s seismic or heavy winds, there is ability of that structure to move independent of the pool.” said Gardner.

In playing devil’s advocate, we asked Gardner what the design entailed to keep water from the pool from splashing down below and keep the pool from freezing.

The walls of the Sky Pool are 8 feet high over the span of the center of the pool. One question we got asked is about water splashing out of the pool down on pedestrians below.

“The walls are about 8 feet high. They would have to splash it over the edge, and there is no reason they couldn’t. You have to have the safety walls up there so that people aren’t doing anything too crazy and hanging over the edge once you’re that high up. Otherwise, people could splash and get things over the edge if they get too wild.” said Gardner.

The pool itself is heated year round so the potential for the vessel freezing is nil. “The water is heated year-round so that water is never going to get an opportunity to freeze to a solid block. Plus, it doesn’t get that cold in London consistently enough to where you could have that happen.” said Gardner in responding to whether a pool freeze could cause damage.

Concealing The Plumbing

The filtration system for the Sky Pool has the pump room on one end of the two towers of Embassy Gardens so the water circulates from one side to the other. With no visible plumbing in the photos we have seen have the Sky Pool, we asked Gardner exactly how they managed to conceal all the plumbing. “You’ll notice a pedestrian bridge just north of the pool itself and there is some pipe work that runs through that pedestrian bridge that takes the water back over to the other side.”

A pedestrian bridge runs alongside the sky pool and cleverly conceals all the of pipework for the pool plumbing.

Maintaining The Sky Pool

Another big question that was on our minds as well as many other folks in the pool industry was, how do you clean and maintain a pool that high up? “Obviously the wet side is easy to get to in to clean.” said Gardner, “The dry side… we’re pushing the limits of what you can reach with a man lift on the ground. That’s the process right now. They’ve got a man lift that can go up 10 stories and somebody is cleaning it on the dry side on a regular basis.”

Getting the Sky Pool ready for transport to the Embassy Gardens took an enormous amount of planning and was a monumental undertaking involving crews on both sides of the pond.

Transporting this massive 175,000-pound acrylic structure to the Embassy Gardens in London was no easy task. “The interesting thing is when we were finally finished with it and ready to get it out of here, in Colorado we were having a bunch of wildfires. Even with the best planning and routing, we had to re-route it because the fires had shut down the highways on the route we wanted to go.” said Gardner.

Sky Pool leaving colorful Colorado on a 5,000-mile trip to its new home at the Embassy Gardens.

“We got stuck on the Texas border because Hurricane Laura was coming through Houston which was the port we were going out of. We sat on the Texas border for a day or two waiting for Laura to clear out to where the ports would open back up.” said Gardner.

We followed the progress on Reynolds Polymers social media pretty much the entire way and like many other folks in the pool industry, wondered what the permitting process and logistics process was like. As it turns out transporting the vessel was a massive undertaking that took years of planning and coordination. “Permitting takes you multiple months because we had to get all the escorts lined up. It’s not the first large project for us though. For a small town of Grand Junction, Colorado we move a lot of material out of here.” said Gardner.

It certainly isn’t the first large scale acrylic pool project Reynolds has been involved with. Other incredible projects they have undertaken over the years include world class pools and structures all over the globe.

Reynolds Polymer manufactured the 200,000-gallon aquarium in the center of the swimming pool area at Golden Nugget

Reynolds Polymer has made a name for themselves in the pool industry for manufacturing, designing, and engineering over the top see through acrylic pool vessels and aquariums. Their work is rapidly gaining traction with luxury homeowners as well who want their own version of the elaborate Sky Pool in their own backyard.

Another suspended acrylic pool Reynolds Polymer was involved with is the Intercontinental Hotel pool project in Dubai.

Due to the incredible amount of attention the Sky Pool has already received, we can imagine there will be high demand for this particular concept. “There has already been inquiries coming in for little Sky Pools” said Gardner. “I think because of the publicity of the Sky Pool, there will definitely be others that want something similar. It’s very attractive to have something that catches the eye and floating water is something that people can’t seem to get enough of.”

Listen to our entire interview with the manufacturers of the Sky Pool on the Pool Magazine Podcast

Watch a video of behind-the-scenes footage of the Sky Pool making its way from Reynolds Polymer’s factory in Colorado all the way to London in the UK.

Article Photos Courtesy of Reynolds Polymer

Editor in Chief of Pool Magazine - Joe Trusty is also CEO of PoolMarketing.com, the leading digital agency for the pool industry. An internet entrepreneur, software developer, author, and marketing professional with a long history in the pool industry. Joe oversees the writing and creative staff at Pool Magazine. To contact Joe Trusty email info@poolmagazine.com or call (916) 467-9118 during normal business hours. For submissions, please send your message to submissions@poolmagazine.com

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PHTA Reveals The 2021 International Awards of Excellence Winners

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Pool & Hot Tub Alliance 2021 - International Awards of Excellence

(Alexandria, Va.) – The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) is proud to announce this year’s winners of the PHTA Awards of Excellence. PHTA’s International Awards of Excellence program is one of the largest, most well-renowned design competitions in the pool and hot tub industry. These distinguished awards recognize exceptional installations of pools, spas, hot tubs, and water features that showcase the most beautiful, creative, and innovative work in the industry. Each year, hundreds of entries are submitted by builders across the U.S. and the world.

The PHTA Awards of Excellence competition is open to PHTA members who are pool, spa, or hot tub builders as well as installers, designers, retailers, or service companies that receive payment for the submitted project. The judging panel is comprised of industry professionals along with representatives from related fields, including architecture and landscape design.

The award categories were updated this year to better encompass the wide variety of pools, spas, hot tubs, and water features being designed.

See below for the list of 2021 PHTA International Award of Excellence Winners:

GOLDCATEGORY
Aquatic Leisure Technologies, Perth, AustraliaFiberglass Pools
Cascade Custom Pools, Austin, TXSwim Spas
Cascade Custom Pools, Austin, TXElevated Pool and/or Spa Structure
Claffey Pools, Southlake, TXTraditional
Claffey Pools, Southlake, TXPools with Automatic Covers
Claffey Pools, Southlake, TXTraditional
Claffey Pools, Southlake, TXTraditional
Claffey Pools, Southlake, TXGeometric
Cosgrove Custom Pools Inc., Rocklin, CAPools with a Vanishing Edge
DIFFAZUR PISCINES, Saint-Laurent-du-Var, FranceTechnical/Engineering Achievement
DIFFAZUR PISCINES, Saint-Laurent-du-Var, FranceSpas Built in Conjunction with Swimming Pools
DIFFAZUR PISCINES, Saint-Laurent-du-Var, FranceRecreation/Leisure Pools
DIFFAZUR PISCINES, Saint-Laurent-du-Var, FranceRecreation/Leisure Pools
DIFFAZUR PISCINES, Saint-Laurent-du-Var, FranceRecreation/Leisure Pools
High-Tech Pools Inc., North Olmsted, OHCompetition Pools
lke’s Carter Pools, Oakland Park, FLPool Renovations
lke’s Carter Pools, Oakland Park, FLGeometric
J&M Pool Company, Senoia, GAVinyl-Lined Pools
Platinum Pools, Houston, TXPools with a Vanishing Edge
Shasta Pools, Phoenix, AZCommercial Water Features
Sunfish Pools, Jacksboro, TXFreeform
Texas Pools Inc, The Woodlands, TXGeometric
Tipton Spires Design Build, Houston, TXGeometric
Van Kirk Pools, Deerfield Beach, FLPools with a Vanishing Edge
Van Kirk Pools, Deerfield Beach, FLGeometric

SILVERCATEGORY
Acuarium Piscinas & Spas, Miami, FLRecreation/Leisure Pools
Aquatic Leisure Technologies, Perth, AustraliaFiberglass Pools
Claffey Pools, Southlake, TXRecreation/Leisure Pools
Claffey Pools, Southlake, TXTraditional
Claffey Pools, Southlake, TXPools with a Vanishing Edge
Claffey Pools, Southlake, TXTraditional
Cody Pools, Inc., Georgetown, TXGeometric
DIFFAZUR PISCINES, Saint-Laurent-du-Var, FranceTraditional
DIFFAZUR PISCINES, Saint-Laurent-du-Var, FrancePool Renovations
DIFFAZUR PISCINES, Saint-Laurent-du-Var, FranceSpas Built in Conjunction with Swimming Pools
High-Tech Pools Inc., North Olmsted, OHElevated Pool and/or Spa Structure
lke’s Carter Pools, Oakland Park, FLTechnical/Engineering Achievement
Lido Pools, Keswick, CanadaVinyl-Lined Pools
Platinum Pools, Houston, TXGeometric
Platinum Pools, Houston, TXPools with a Vanishing Edge
Southernwind Pools, Mckinney, TXFreeform
Southernwind Pools, Mckinney, TXGeometric

BRONZECATEGORY
Claffey Pools, Southlake, TXTraditional
D. Clugston, Inc., Apex, NCRecreation/Leisure Pools
D. Clugston, Inc., Apex, NCRecreation/Leisure Pools
DIFFAZUR PISCINES, Saint-Laurent-du-Var, FranceTechnical/Engineering Achievement
Easton Pool & Spa, Inc., Easton, MAFreeform
lke’s Carter Pools, Oakland Park, FLPool Renovations
J&M Pool Company, Senoia, GAVinyl-Lined Pools
Paragon Pools, Las Vegas, NVSpas Built in Conjunction with Swimming Pools
River Pools of Central Virginia, Warsaw, VAFiberglass Pools
Russell Pool Company , Baton Rouge, LATraditional
Texas Pools Inc, The Woodlands, TXGeometric
Van Kirk & Sons Pools & Spas , Deerfield Beach, FLPools with a Vanishing Edge
Vue Custom Pools, Greensboro, NCTraditional

MERITCATEGORY
Almar Jackson Pools, Inc., Jupiter, FLTraditional
Aquatic Leisure Technologies, Perth, AustraliaFiberglass Pools
Claffey Pools, Southlake, TXTraditional
DIFFAZUR PISCINES, Saint-Laurent-du-Var, FranceTechnical/Engineering Achievement
DIFFAZUR PISCINES, Saint-Laurent-du-Var, FranceFreeform
Platinum Pools, Houston, TXTraditional
Superior Pools of Southwest Florida inc., Port Charlotte, FLPool Renovations
Superior Pools of Southwest Florida inc., Port Charlotte, FLSpas Built in Conjunction with Swimming Pools
Van Kirk & Sons Pools & Spas, Deerfield Beach, FLPools with a Vanishing Edge

“We were amazed by this year’s submissions. It is truly incredible to see the passion, creativity, and innovation happening in our industry,” says Sabeena Hickman, CAE, President and CEO of PHTA. “We received 185 stunning submissions across 20 categories. The judging panel did tremendous work in narrowing down the finalists and selecting the winners. We are proud of all of our 2021 winners!”

For more information, please contact Janay Rickwalder, PHTA’s Vice President of PR and Communications, at jrickwalder@phta.org or 703.357.3918.
###

About the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance
The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA), a non-profit organization with nearly 3,500 members from around the world, was established in 1956 to support, promote, and protect the common interests of the $36.5B pool, hot tub and spa industry. PHTA provides education, advocacy, standards development, research, and market growth to increase our members’ professionalism, knowledge and profitability. Additionally, PHTA facilitates the expansion of swimming, water safety and related research and outreach activities aimed at introducing more people to swimming, making swimming environments safer and keeping pools open to serve communities. For more information, visit www.phta.org.

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Aqua Dome Thermal Pool

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Aqua Dome Thermal Pool

Have you ever thought about going for a spa break? Spas are increasingly becoming popular among a wide range of individuals. Not only do spas offer a wide range of health benefits, but they also add a whole new charm to your backyard space. As a result, pool owners are adding spas to increase the functionality of their pools. One of the best spas you’ll ever visit is the Aqua Dome Tirol Therme Längenfeld. Located in the Austrian Alps, this thermal pool provides you with an exceptional vacation experience.

Aqua Dome Thermal Pool

Exceptional views offered by the thermal pool

A breathtaking landscape encompasses this spectacular thermal spa. Also, it has a luxury hotel that offers first-class accommodation services. The landscape consists of vegetation, glaciers, and mountains. Here, you can sit and unwind after a grueling day. This luxurious hotel also offers fine dining for all guests. There is a broad spectrum of the menus provided by the hotel. Moreover, the hotel features enormous domes that contain thermal water.

The Aqua Dome thermal spa is at the heart of a mind-blowing landscape that offers a serene ambiance. If you are looking for a short getaway to unwind and destress, consider visiting this place. Since the temperatures are relatively low in the area, the thermal spa contains heated water that allows you to swim comfortably at any time of the year.

The Talfrische outdoor spa

Another thermal spa in the hotel is the Talfrische outdoor spa. This spa offers exceptional views. The landscape encompassing the spa creates a tranquil ambiance that allows you to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. This spa features three bowl-shaped pools for improved aesthetics. One pool is a brine pool that brings a natural and sea-like effect to the pool. The brine pool has a sound system that enables swimmers to stay entertained even while in the water. The lighting effects of this outdoor spa make it look like a glowing oasis at night. Not to mention, the pool lighting improves swimming visibility at night.

The other pool is a massage pool. Here, you can sit and relax as you enjoy the movement of water across your body. The massage pool is ideal for people suffering from joint and muscle pain since it provides relief. Moreover, the massage pool helps you destress and unwind after a grueling day. The last pool is a jacuzzi pool. The jacuzzi pool is often used for relaxation and entertainment.

Gletscherglühen sauna world

The Aqua dome thermal pool also serves as home to the Gletscherglühen sauna world. This spa is enormous since it measures 2000 square meters. It features a broad spectrum of saunas, whirlpools, and steam baths. The sauna world also holds an ice grotto. The Gletscherglühen sauna world undoubtedly offers incredible views in the area. It significantly improves the aesthetics of the area. Also, the saunas and steam baths in the Gletscherglühen sauna world allow you to relax after a long day.

The Aqua Dome Hotel

The Aqua dome hotel is luxuriously furnished with high-end furniture and equipment. This is to offer tranquility and make the area more inviting. The furnishings in the area are also functional. Note that both indoor and outdoor spaces in the hotel have exceptional furnishing. Other than enjoying breathtaking views while in the pool, you can enjoy the beauty in your hotel room. So, how much does it cost to sleep at the Aqua Dome hotel? According to Trip Advisor, expect to spend approximately $365 per night when you sleep at the Aqua Dome hotel. Needless to say, these prices vary depending on the seasons. During the swimming pool peak season, the prices tend to be higher.

Each room in the hotel has its own balcony

Here, guests are able to enjoy the outdoor views for their own pleasure. Every room offers panoramic views of the landscape and spas. Thus, rest assured that you will enjoy your stay at the hotel to the fullest. Once you pay for a night or two at the hotel, you automatically access the spa. So, you can enjoy the spa at any time of the day.

There are different rooms in the hotel

Some are standard rooms, and others are suits. Usually, suites are larger and have their own fireplace. If you are coming to stay in the hotel with your family, suites are the best. They can accommodate more people. Even so, suits are relatively more expensive compared to alpine rooms. When you are a guest at the hotel, rest assured you will enjoy numerous pampering sessions from the spas and saunas. Ultimately, the best thing about this hotel is that you’ll never get bored during your stay. There is a broad spectrum of spa and pool facilities for you and your loved ones. Not to mention, the breathtaking views in this area will blow your mind.

The thermal spa and pools source their water underground. When pumped, the water reaches a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius.

Ultimately

This Aqua Dome thermal pool is undoubtedly a must-visit. Here, you can get away from your busy schedule and relax as you enjoy exceptional views.

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Pool News

Child Dies From Brain-Eating Amoeba in Splash Pad

Tarrant County Public Health says Naegleria fowleri likely cause of death

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Child Dies From Brain Eating Amoeba Found in Splash Pad

Officials confirmed on Monday that a child in Texas died earlier this month after contracting a rare and often fatal brain-eating amoeba at a public splash park located in Arlington.

According to a joint news statement from Tarrant County Public Health and the City of Arlington, the boy was hospitalized on September 5 with primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, an uncommon and often fatal condition caused by an amoeba called Naegleria fowleri. The child passed away on September 11th. According to the news release, no more information about the youngster was published in order to preserve their identity.

What is Naegleria fowleri?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Naegleria fowleri is typically found in soil and fresh warm water such as lakes, rivers, and hot springs (CDC). It can also be found in unchlorinated or poorly maintained pools.

According to the CDC, the organism infects people when water carrying the amoeba enters the body through the nose. According to the CDC, the Naegleria fowleri amoeba then travels up the nose to the brain, where it damages brain tissue.

Brain eating amoeba Naegleria fowleri responsible for death of boy in Texas

Water Samples Uncover The Truth

Water samples from the splash pad were collected by city officials and sent to the CDC for additional examination. Thirteen days later, on September 24, the CDC confirmed the existence of the amoeba in the water tests and stated that the splash pad was most likely the source of the child’s exposure.

Arlington officials said the splash pad was closed on Sept. 5 after being notified of the child’s illness and will stay closed for the rest of the year “out of an abundance of caution.” All other public splash pads in the area were similarly closed for the rest of the year.

Records from two of the four splash pads — at Don Misenhimer Park and the Beacon Recreation Center — show that Parks and Recreation employees did not consistently record, or in some cases did not conduct, the water quality testing that is required prior to the facilities opening each day, according to city officials.

A examination of inspection logs at the Don Misenhimer splash pad revealed that water chlorination levels were not logged on two of the three times the youngster was there in late August and early September, according to city officials.

Arlington’s drinking water supply was not compromised, according to city authorities, and the splash pad is fitted with a backflow prevention device designed to isolate its water from the city’s water distribution system.

“We have identified gaps in our daily inspection program,” Deputy City Manager Lemuel Randolph told new sources. “Those gaps resulted in us not meeting our maintenance standards at our splash pads. All of the splash pads will remain closed until we have assurance that our systems are operating as they should, and we have confirmed a maintenance protocol consistent with city, county and state standards.”

Not the first occurrence of Brain-Eating Amoeba

The year before, a 6-year-old boy in Lake Jackson, Texas, ended up dying after he contracted the brain-eating amoeba identified in the water of a splash fountain where he had been playing. A 10-year-old Texas child died in 2019 after fighting a brain-eating amoeba for more than a week. She most likely caught it while swimming in the Brazos River and Lake Whitney near Waco, according to officials.

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