Adventurous Londoners will soon be able to take a dip in the chemical-free King’s Cross swimming pool, a man-made freshwater pond filtered and kept clear through natural processes. Designed by Rotterdam Studio Ooze architects and artist Marjetica Potrč, the “Of Soil and Water: King’s Cross Pond Club” project was commissioned as part of the public art program RELAY and the 27-hectare King’s Cross redevelopment. The 40-meter-long bathing pond can accommodate over 100 bathers and explores the relationship between nature and the urban environment.
Currently under construction, the natural swimming pool is located in the heart of the King’s Cross redevelopment project within the new Lewis Cubitt Park. The pond is built two meters above ground level and measures 10 meters (32 feet) wide by 40 meters (131 feet) long. Motivated by a desire to introduce people to a new type of urban experience, the designers made the pool and its surroundings look as natural as possible to reinforce a strong juxtaposition between wild nature and the structured urban environment.
“The project is a small-scale enclaved environment; a living laboratory to test balance and to question a self-sustaining system including one nature cycle – water, land and the human body,” says Efa Pfannes, founder of Ooze Architects. “Actors (visitors to the project) are part of the process. Visitors enter a living laboratory where they are aware of their relationship with nature, and about consequences of their interaction with nature and take responsibilities, they thus become actors.”
Users will also be educated about the pond’s ever-changing landscape and how the pool operates within a small-scale, self-sustaining ecosystem. Wetland plants will be used to clean the water and provide habitat for fauna. The number of visitors on any given day will be restricted to allow the pond to regenerate. The King’s Cross natural pool is expected to open this May.
Images via Ooze architects