East River Pool Coming To New York?

rendering of a floating pool in New York's East River rendering of a floating pool in New York's East River rendering of a floating pool in New York's East River

Probably the most eco-friendly swim is in an ocean or river. Unfortunately, some bodies of water have been polluted to unsafe levels of contamination. However, a team of designers in New York, with the help of an international engineering firm, has a plan to overcome, or rather, filter out this mess.

The group recently completed the general design and feasibility analysis for a swimming pool that would float in the East River, filled with water strained from the surrounding waterway. As both a public amenity and an ecological prototype, + Pool, the name of the project, is a small but exciting precedent for environmental urbanism in the 21st century.

+ Pool was conceived by Archie Lee Coates IV and Jeffrey Franklin of PlayLab along with Dong-Ping Wong of the firm Family New York, and according to the group's website, www.pluspool.org, the idea has received technical analysis and support from Arup, a global engineering company, which has pronounced it doable.

According to the team, the pool is basically a "giant strainer" dropped into the river, with water-filtration membranes built into the walls of the pool to filter river water into clean, swimmable pool water.

The concept for the strainer walls involves three concentric layers: the primary, outer layer filters down to 150 microns, eliminating everything from rats to large suspended solids; a secondary layer provides filtration down to much finer particles, including algae and organic matter; the third layer is a disinfection layer designed to kill bacteria and viruses.

The current goal of the group is to beta test a prototype of the membrane wall to confirm the concept.

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