Architectural Firm Proposes A Swimming Pool Nearly 2000' High
Updated: Oct 11, 2019
Architect Hayri Atak has proposed a radical pool concept that hangs off the side of a cliff in Norway, 1,982 ft. in the air although it may never be built.
Turkish firm, Hayri Atak Design Studio is smoking the good stuff. They've somehow managed to come up with a swimming pool concept that would make even the most inventive pool concepts to-date, look like a walk in the park. In fact, this is one of my favorite concepts and definitely one of the boldest. And even though it didn't break the internet like Infinity London did, it still managed to catch the attention of some pretty influential sites like Deezen, Architectural Digest, and Design Boom.
The concept is part of a newly proposed hotel in Norway called the Cliff Concept Boutique Hotel. This isn't exactly a Holiday Inn, either. This hotel would be built into the side of a 1,982' high cliff known as Preikestolen Cliff or "Pulpit Rock" which is part of the Scandinavian Mountain Range and also one of Norways most visited natural tourist attractions with over 200,000 visitors each year.
The cliff was actually named one of the world’s most spectacular viewing points by both CNN Go and Lonely Planet and it's pretty obvious why. It's also extremely popular among base jumpers because of it's flat top. So naturally, anything that stuck out, off the side of this unbelievably high cliff would definitely make a statement and offer a watery attraction like no other.
Even some of the most audacious pool designs in the world would have to tip their hats to Hayri Ataks idea. First of all, at 1,982 feet, the Boutique Hotel Pool would easily be the highest pool in the world; by a landslide. Currently the highest outdoor swimming pools and spas are the Burj Khalifa private pool and spa on the 76th floor of the tallest building in the world in Dubai and the Marina Bay Sands Skypark Infinity Pool in Singapore; Neither of which come close to 2000 feet. In fact, they're only about half the height of the would be Boutique Hotel Pool in Norway.
This pool would also offer a unique experience not currently available in the world of swimming pools. It's basically a cross between some of the worlds highest and most innovative pools and some of the coolest tourist attractions like The Grand Canyons Skywalk or The Columbia Icefield Skywalk. These engineering marvels similarly cantilever off the side of steep cliffs and offer one of a kind experiences with glass bottom floors and breathtaking views.
But the Boutique hotel would accomplish singularly what each of these types of pools and attractions accomplish separately. It would offer some of the most astonishing views in the world, at heights only offered by engineering marvels, through a medium as innovative as a swimming pool. And as Atak said, the pool would capture the "feeling of living on and beyond the edge and immerse swimmers within the landscape and the sheer drop below." It's basically the equivalent to swimming in a gravity free environment which the Architect thought would be much more thrilling in a pool than on a balcony; and I have to agree.
But just how practical is a pool like this in a location as popular as Pulpit Rock? Well, some people seem to think it would be highly unlikely to get approval in such a location given the reluctency in the past to put something as simple as a safety railing in the area. The authorities actually opted not to install fencing or other safety devices as they felt it would detract from the site. So you can see how a hotel might be a little more detracting; even if it does have an awesome swimming pool. But, it's also possible it had to do with the fact that fatalities at the site are extremely rare; who knows.
And in case the hotel and pool don't get built, you should still check out the Rock. It's pretty unbelievable. Here's a video of just how f-ing amazing this place really is:
Lets talk design
Architects like to design stuff but a lot of times, when it comes to swimming pools, which are highly specialized, fully functioning vessels, they usually require the help of people like myself and companies like Aquatic Consultants, Inc. If they didn't, I'd be out of a job. But in reality, part of my profession is to help turn some of these insane ideas into a fully functioning and buildable body of water.
And Hayri Atak Design Studio is definitely pushing the envelope with this one. They're proposing to use some of the more popular, innovative and expensive materials being utilized in the pool industry today along with a cantilevered design that would take some serious coordination between Engineers and Specialists.
But it also looks like the Architects have taken some of the more significant concerns into consideration that doesn't necessarily put this pool too far out of the realm of reality. The fact that they are showing a steel frame and mullions or supports along the entire bottom and sides of the acrylic portion of the pool leads me to believe they put some thought into this. I'm even somewhat surprised. Acrylic panels in pools are becoming more popular every year and usually the goal is to show as much acrylic as possible without any sort of structure hindering the view. Afterall, the premise behind a translucent material that you can see through isn't to have something like a column or support in the way. So acrylic panels are usually supported on two ends as to not obstruct any view through the middle. Cantilevering the acrylic has also become pretty popular with pools like the London Sky Pool, the Intercontinental hotel pool in Dubai and the Anaha Ward Village Pool in Honolulu; all attempts at cantilevering a complete acrylic facade without any interruptions.
So showing steel supports and a frame is a tell sign of a different approach than what's usually proposed. And it might have something to do with the thickness of materials that may be required had they went the alternative route. The design of the hotel seems to be modern, sleek and somewhat minimalistic. The hotel in general is very small, and it seems they don't want to interrupt the beauty of the natural rock with monolithic man made structures. So using steel supports and framing may result in less concrete, steel and acrylic support thicknesses which would speak to the rest of the hotel design. Without the steel frame, the acrylic would most likely need to be much thicker resulting in thicker steel and concrete support. To give you an idea, the floors of the London Sky Pool are 12" thick acrylic slabs with 8" thick acrylic walls.
And with the help of the two cables supporting the very ends of the pool, the structure isn't relying solely on a single side for support.