+ Pool is a proposal by Dong-Ping Wong, Archie Lee Coates IV and Jeffrey Franklin, to build a plus-shaped floating pool in the East River. That’s right, just floating in the river right off the banks of Manhattan. With the rising summer heat in New York, it’s no surprise that people are imagining creative ways to dive into the surrounding waters and cool off. But the idea behind + Pool is hardly new, in fact, “floating baths” as they were known, are a part of the city’s history.
As early as 1817, Manhattan had private marine baths. As the immigrant population grew, people who lived in buildings that lacked bathing facilities flocked to the river. To accommodate this trend, the first floating river baths were built in 1870, separated by gender, and situated around 51st Street along the Hudson River. These were popular for decades, until they were eventually phased out in the 1930s due to concerns of congestion, hygiene, and pollution.
But the Clean Water Act of 1972 allowed people to think about using their rivers again, and ideas similar to + Pool were explored in the last few years. In 2004, Metropolis Next Generation finalist, Meta Brunzema introduced a 20-foot river pool to the Hudson River in Beacon. Decorated with a rainbow-colored perimeter, the river pool is a modular design composed of low-impact fiberglass seats and a flexible mesh made of Dyneema twine. The floating wading pool provides an experience of swimming in the middle of the river, as the mesh bottom allows the river water to flow through, bringing with it the rhythm of the natural tide.
Excerpt and pictures from the article by Cheryl Yau at metropolismag.com