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UK’s first public swimming pond is now open

by Alice Wright

King's Cross Pond Club

Credit: John Sturrock

The UK’s first ever natural swimming pool designed for public use is now open in London’s King’s Cross.

Entitled Of Soil and Water: King’s Cross Pond Club, the chemical-free pool is part of an innovative art project at the King’s Cross development, created by Ooze Architects and artist Marjetica Potrč.

The pool measures about 40 metres by 10 metres and is purified through a natural process, using wetland and submerged water plants to filter and sustain clean and clear water.

The pond, which is due to remain in place for up to two years, is surrounded by pioneer plants, wild flowers and grasses, so the environment evolves through the year. As well as people, the site is expected to attract a large variety of wildlife.

The installation will offer views across King’s Cross giving visitors the chance to reflect on the relationship between the natural and built environment.

Speaking about her work, artist Marjetica Potrč said: “We have to re-think how we live with the city and with nature. Here, we are collaborating with nature and the artwork encourages the viewer to participate in that experience. Water is a source of life but it is also a metaphor for regeneration. We want to understand our influence upon nature but also our balance with nature.”

Eva Pfannes of Ooze Architects said: “The project is an attempt to capture the dynamicity conveyed by the changes within the area, a moment in time where new possibilities and possible futures arise.

“In this particular project, the juxtaposition of something so natural in an urban environment was a very important idea for us. It is meant to look unpolished and to evolve as the seasons change.”

The site was engineered and built by Europe’s leading natural pool designers BIOTOP and its UK partner, Kingcombe Aquacare Ltd.

The pond is now open Monday to Friday from 6am to dusk, and Saturday to Sunday from 8am  to dusk. Due to its chemical-free nature visitor numbers at the pond are restricted, so a limited number of tickets will be available for designated sessions throughout the day, and two weeks in advance. Ticket prices range from £6.50 for peak swims, to £3.50 for non-peak swims. Non swimmers can visit the pond at a discounted rate. Booking enquiries can be made by visiting the Pond Club website.

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