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‘Floating’ Swimming Pool Made Possible by Plastics Engineering

Image: Reynolds Polymer Sky Pool in London
The latest mega-project from Reynolds Polymer Technology involved engineering a see-through swimming pool anchored between two buildings 115 feet in the air. 

Look, up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane, no, it's . . . a swimming pool?

Reynolds Polymer Technology has a well-earned reputation for creating epic acrylic constructions. It made quite a splash in 2019 with the Rain Vortex, the world’s tallest indoor waterfall at Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore. That same year, an underwater restaurant in Norway opened with a 26-foot panoramic window allowing diners to experience the life aquatic without getting wet, courtesy Reynolds Polymer. But the world’s first “floating swimming pool” that just debuted in London may be the company's most stunning piece of work yet.

The pool consists of a solid 14-in.-thick piece of acrylic that spans 82 feet across two buildings. It hovers 115 feet in the air, part of the Embassy Gardens complex. The totally transparent polymer was engineered and manufactured in Grand Junction, CO, where Reynolds Polymer is located. Describing the Sky Pool as “unexplainable without seeing it,” Paul O. Gardner, Vice President of Engineering, Quality, & Safety at Reynolds Polymer Technology, said that the project pushed the envelope of what can be done in large acrylic structures.

The Sky Pool was designed to appear simple to the public, said Reynolds Polymer, but “the concept is incredibly complex.” The structure carries the weight and pressure of the water, and is subject to wind loads, temperature fluctuations, and building movements. The project took four years to complete, six months of which were spent just exploring the concept with plenty of discussion on design data and safety measures with international property developers Ecoworld Ballymore Group, which oversees the Embassy Gardens project.

Engineering and manufacturing were not the only challenges — shipping the 122,000-pound structure from Colorado to London proved to be another major undertaking. It required police escorts, road closures, removal of traffic lights and street signs, as well as a full day closure of Nine Elms Lane which spans along the River Thames in London, as the pool arrived via the water, explained Reynolds Polymer.

"The design and engineering that went into Sky Pool involved many people across multiple continents," said Declan McLaughlin, CEO of Reynolds Polymer. "Sometimes you are presented with challenges that seem insurmountable, and Sky Pool was one of those. However, it inspired our organization to go above and beyond and execute an inspirational iconic idea of a floating pool. Incredibly proud to be part of this once in a lifetime legacy challenge."

TAGS: Materials
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