The Worlds Most Technologically Advanced Swimming Pool
Updated: Jul 23, 2020
The Marina Bay Sands Skypool in Singapore is the most advanced swimming pool ever constructed - and at nearly 700 feet in the sky no less
Que in DJ Khaleds sound track and vocals "I'm all the way up." - At least that's the song that comes to mind when I think of the Marina Bay Sands Skypool in Singapore. In fact, they should play it on the pool deck because what you're looking at is the poolside view from the highest infinity edge pool in the world.
It's located 656 feet in the air at 492 feet long - That's the length of nearly three Olympic size pools and in case I forgot to mention that also makes it the worlds largest rooftop infinity edge pool. As if that wasn't enough, the pool also spans across three, 57 story skyscrapers which makes it one of the most incredible swimming pool engineering feats you've ever seen. In fact, Marina Bay Sands is arguably one of the world’s most challenging construction projects and certainly the most expensive stand-alone integrated resort property ever built. The SkyPark is a triumph of modern engineering and there's literally nothing else like it anywhere on the planet. It's so impressive its been featured by National Geographic, the Discovery Channel's "Build It Bigger," Business Insider and even on the movie set of Crazy Rich Asian!
The Skypool was also Singapore’s most Instagrammed place in 2018 so if you're a travel bug or IG junkie and you have yet to take a selfie at the Marina Bay Sands Skypool, you're missing out.
Seriously, this could be you:
I'm convinced that everybody needs a selfie at this pool and it's definitely on our bucket list. From 57 storys up, you get a chance to see the sky line of Singapores financial district from over 478 feet of overflowing pool edge. A lot of guests even stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel specifically for the chance to experience the pool. Few hotels in the world have a swimming pool with this kind of impact but they all wish they did.
The catch is you have to be a guest at the hotel to gain access to the pool and rooms aren't exactly cheap. They even give you a key card specifically to access the hotel rooftop where the pool is when you check in and without it, you'll have to pull some serious ninja moves to get to the top.
But that doesn't stop some people from tying to sneak in. In fact, the pool is so popular, sneaking in has become something of an exploit for non-hotel tourists. Seriously, a simple Google or YouTube search results in numerous blog articles and videos on how to sneak into this pool. Some tourists even add sneaking into the Sky Pool, part of their trip. And while we don't condone sneaking past security into any pool, one tourist, Emma Balmforth took bathrobes and slippers from her hostel housekeeping cart to pass off as a hotel guest at the Marina Bay Sands ;)
It's probably safe to say, most pools don't have this problem but most pools aren't the Marina Bay Sands Sky Pool, either. So it's not hard to see why some would risk potentially being caught by security and even handed over to police, to take a dip in the worlds largest and highest infinity edge pool. Afterall, it's a truly unique, structural masterpiece of a pool.
Just look at it. That "boat" looking thing at the top of the hotels that spans across all three towers, is the Sky Park where the pool resides.
It's a 2.5-acre Sky Park that caps the towers and offers 360-degree views of the city and sea. It's sheer size is so impressive that at 1,120 feet long, the Sky Park is longer than the Eiffel Tower is tall. That's crazy.
Oh, and the 218 foot long observation deck on the North end is the longest occupiable cantilevered structure in the world. So it's no surprise that the Sky Parks swimming pool is equally as impressive. It's easily one of the most unique pools in the world. It stretches an incredible 492 feet in length. Not to mention that 478 of those feet are a vanishing edge or infinity edge design where the water "disappears" over the edge of the pool.
That means the hydraulic system behind this pool is monstrous. So you have an idea, if we use a typical 3gpm per linear foot of infinity edge, thats a ridiculous 1,434 gallons of water flowing over the edge every single minute - I geek out hard if you couldn't tell.
It's like a floating oasis in the sky and at a height of 656 feet in the air, the "infinity effect" is unreal. Some people have even said that if they didn't know any better, it looks as if you could fall right over the edge of the pool - and they're right.
This is afterall, the money shot and part of what makes this pool so spectacular. It's a one of a kind experience and will definitely give you some perspective on things. The watery view reflects a vast city in the sky. Also, knowing that there isn't another outdoor infinity pool this high up in the sky, is pretty cool.
But, this won't be the case for much longer. The Palms Tower in Dubai is set to be finished by the end of 2019 and it has an outdoor rooftop infinity pool that's going to claim the title from the Marina Bay Sands as the worlds highest outdoor infinity pool. It's located on the 50th floor, 689 feet in the air which is 33 feet higher than the pool at Marina Bay Sands. So this pools decade long reign as the highest outdoor infinity edge pool will soon be at an end.
But either way, this is a surreal experience that pictures don't even properly portray. This is what other infinity pools dream of being and most pale in comparison so if this doesn't make you feel on top of the world, I don't know what will.
Don't worry though, you can't actually fall over the edge. There's a gutter and railing on the other side that's out of your line of sight until you walk directly up to the edge of the pool. The pool wall also has a significant slope away from you which would make it difficult to try and stand on. You'd have to put in some real effort to make it over the wall, gutter and railing to go flying.
Lets talk design
The hotel, pool and sky park were also designed by visionary Architect Moshe Safdie of Safdie Architects so none of these design details or edges were a mistake. The Marina Bay Sands Sky Park Pool is a well thought out, architecturally inspired, ground breaking and engineering phenom brought together by a team of experts. You couldn't otherwise design and build the worlds highest and longest outdoor infinity pool.
Here's a section/elevation of The SkyPark from Safdie Architects. This gives you a better idea of the shaped structure that's constructed from spanning steel bridges hovering over the concrete towers below. The spaces between the hotel and park above are also designed as glass pavilions with open views to the park overhead, home to restaurants, lounges and a high end spa. It's pretty crazy to think that as large and impressive as this swimming pool is, it only makes up a tiny portion of the overall rooftop.
The plan view of The Sands SkyPark located on the 57th storey includes many of the hotel amenities. You can see the location of the observation deck on the North end as well as the relative size of the pool. You can also see the design being broken up into sections to help with foot traffic. Some people have said that although it can get pretty busy, because of the layout and space, it doesn't feel overcrowded. So there are multiple entry and exit points in the pool, shallow lounging areas where you can lay on a lounger in the water, day beds surrounded by water, deck loungers and even a kiddie pool.
The Architects and team even managed to try out their pool design first hand. Because what's the point of designing a pool if you can't enjoy it also.
The pool design was actually developed and constructed by Natare Corporation who specializes in stainless steel swimming pool fabrication. Leading Architect, Moshe Safdie brought on Natare to handle the design challenges of such a significant style rooftop pool. Any time you're dealing with a project of this magnitude, you need to bring on specialists in their respective fields. In this case, Natare played a key role in coordinating their pool between the engineering, construction management, design teams and their own on-site visits.
And this was no easy task. The SkyPark is one of the most incredible technological feats in the pool industry, because of the consideration of the three towers movement by wind at that height and the settlement of the buildings in the ground over time. Not to mention the pool holds 380,000 gallons of water which weighs over 1 million pounds with the stainless structure alone weighing an additional 422,000 pounds. How about that for a pool shell.
There is a 478 foot infinity-edge stainless steel pool, three large hydrotherapy spas, a wading pool and a reflecting pool sitting on top of three independent 56-floor hotel towers. So Natare had to engineer these stainless steel swimming pools to allow for the swaying of the three skyscrapers in every direction. There are four movement joints beneath the main pools, designed to help them withstand the natural motion of the towers, and each joint has a unique range of motion. The total range of motion is 500 millimeters or 19.68 inches. The SkyPark is designed for wind pressures of up to 5,933 lbs./ft² and wind speeds of up to 105 ft. per second.
In addition to wind, the hotel towers are also subject to settlement in the earth over time, so engineers built and installed custom jack legs to allow for future adjustment at more than 500 points beneath the pool system. The pool also adjusts to maintain its level flow along the horizon of the infinity-edge, even as the three buildings settle into the ground at different rates over the years. This jacking system is important primarily to ensure the infinity edge of the pool continues to function properly.
The mechanical systems of the pool were designed with multiple and independent recirculation and filtration loops allowing for a variety of operational modes depending on the bather load, weather conditions, feature effects and hours of operation. A scale model of the pool enclosures and submersed connectors were built and tested at Natare’s headquarters in Indianapolis. The mock-up allowed Natare to troubleshoot and modify the sealing method in order to provide a superior product never before used in elevated pools.
The pool interior is finished with ceramic tile adhered directly to the stainless steel foundation. The pool consists of three separate shells; the middle shell constructed atop the middle tower, and the outer shells constructed on bridges that connect the middle tower with the outer ones. The structural bridges between each hotel tower were installed with a 3-inch pitch, to accommodate the weight of the pool when filled with water. Four movement joints were also constructed beneath the main pool to accommodate with unique ranges of motion.
Natare pre-fabricated all 40,000 components from their manufacturing facility in Indianapolis and shipped them in more than 30 ocean freight containers 9,520 miles to Singapore!
As you can tell, manufacturing and constructing of the world’s highest and largest infinity-edge pool is no small feat. Check out this awesome video of the Marina Bay Sands SkyPark Infinity Edge Pool being constructed:
I'm also loving this sketch from Safdie Architects. You'd be surprised how some of the most unbelievable designs start out as a simple sketch on a napkin or a "coloring book" doodle to portray a concept.