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Environment / Climate change

Residents at London's new Nine Elms development will be able to swim IN THE ACTUAL LITERAL SKY

There’s a lot to say about the 15-acre, £15bn redevelopment currently underway at Nine Elms in southwest London. It represents a drastic change to the area: the sheer number of luxury flats (bar a few blocks of affordable homes), plus the construction of three new diplomatic embassies, will no doubt transform the previously neglected corner of Wandsworth into a prime west London location.

But today, we’re mostly here to talk about the sky pool. 

A sky pool, in case you haven’t had the pleasure – and, given this is claiming to be the world’s first, you probably haven’t – is a swimming pool suspended between buildings such that it is, basically, floating in the sky. This model will be suspended between two 10-storey blocks in the new development and will link the two blocks’ roof terraces, which will also boast a spa, bar, sun loungers and, er, orangery:

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Image: Ballymore.

The complex, “Embassy Gardens”, is under construction by developers Ballymore at a site near the new US embassy. The pool will be 90 feet long (just over the length of an Olympic pool), 19 feet wide, and nearly 10 feet deep. Water is, of course, extremely heavy, which may be why no one has attempted to build a sky pool before, and so the pool walls will be build from 8-inch panes of glass.

There has been some debate in the CityMetric offices about whether swimming in such a pool “looks really fun”, or will in fact be “the most terrifying thing you can possibly do because oh my god what’s to stop you getting too near the edge and AAAAAAAAH”.

Sadly, the pool will be open to residents only – no Saturday morning lane-swimming for you – and prices for flats start at £602,000. Better start saving, folks. 

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