Plus-shaped swimming pool in New York’s East River gets green light

+Pool floating pool for the East River

A floating swimming pool in the East River, New York, designed by creative studio PlayLab has been approved to continue with planning.

The open-air saltwater pool, called +Pool because it would be shaped like a plus, was designed by Los Angeles studio PlayLab over a decade ago.

Design collaborators Family, a New York-based studio, has since dissolved.

+Pool in the East River
PlayLab developed a concept for the floating pool over ten years ago

Non-profit organisation +Pool was co-founded by Playlab’s Archie Lee Coates IV and Jeff Franklin and Family’s Dong-Ping Wong. It has spent 10 years developing the technology and raising funds to test prototypes for the pool.

The organisation has now received an official “confirmation to proceed with due diligence” from New York’s Economic Development Corporation and is free to go ahead with logistics planning.

A provisional spot for the project has been assigned to the north of Manhattan Bridge. Each arm of the plus-shaped pool would be dedicated to different functions, including a lap pool and a children’s pool.

The pool would be shaped like a plus
The saltwater pool would filter the river water

Plans had stalled due to the coronavirus pandemic until the start of May when the +Pool team got the go-ahead.

The +Pool team claims the floating pool could potentially filter 500,000 gallons of river water per day, creating a safe place for people to swim while cleaning the East River.

Its engineers have used software developed by the US’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to model a membrane filtration system.

Renders of New York saltwater pool
The water would be safe to swim in

Barriers around the floating pool would need to filter the water of the East River, a saltwater tidal estuary that divides Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Water quality has improved since the US passed the Clean Water Act in 1972. But tens of billions of gallons of stormwater contaminated with sewage still flows into the East River via the old combined sewer overflow (CSO) system each year.

In 2019 PlayLab floated a plus-shaped LED installation in the East River that changed colour depending on whether the water was safe enough to swim in.

More concepts for floating pools include a starfish-shaped pool designed by White Arkitekter for Bergen and a sea pool in Finland by Office for Peripheral Architecture.

Images courtesy of +Pool.

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