A video of London’s Sky Pool has gone viral on Twitter, and it’s sparked a serious debate about the city.
It’s pretty hot outside, and lots of Londoners are in search of wild swimming spots and outdoor swimming pools to cool off in. But there’s one pool in particular that’s caught the eye of many sweaty and flustered city-dwellers – London’s new Sky Pool.
Everybody on Twitter is talking about the 82-foot glass swimming pool which is suspended 114 metres above the ground ground between two luxury apartment complexes in Vauxhall. Would you swim in it?
The answer doesn’t really matter to the majority of us because it’s only open to residents in the building. But there are plenty more questions to ask about the controversial pool, which has caused outrage on social media.
The conversation started with many people making jokey declarations on how they would never swim in something so high up. “This may have jumped to #1 on list of things I will never do,” one writer shared, echoing the thoughts of hundreds of others.
“This is a set piece in a disaster movie starring The Rock and you will never convince me otherwise,” half-joked another horrified Twitter user.
But it quickly became clear that there are much more serious points to be made about the pool and what it highlights about inequality in London.
“Meanwhile, the Lewisham, New Cross [and] Deptford community is working [very] hard to keep the only community leisure pool in the area from shutting down – a pool beloved by so many residents for whom it’s one of the few spaces of being together,” said a teacher.
Labour Councillor for Queenstown, Aydin Dikerdem, gave some context behind where the pool has been built: “This former industrial area in the heart of London was an incredible opportunity for a city facing a severe housing crisis.”
He added: “Yet from its inception, Conservative politicians have prioritised the private gain of developers over the public good.”
Dikerdem concluded: “That’s why what’s happened here is so upsetting. We’re never again going to have all this abandoned industrial space which could’ve transformed the lives of people in a borough where thousands are statutorily homeless or spending half their income on private rent.”
Another Twitter user, meanwhile, has flagged that people in Shared Ownership properties in the buildings can’t access the pool: “Fun fact: residents in the ‘affordable’ flats in these blocks are not allowed to use the sky pool, even if they pay. They just have to watch the rich people from their windows. Also the ‘affordable’ flats still cost about £750k.”
Yes, it’s an architectural marvel which is so ridiculous that you can’t help but react with a joke. But it has sparked a lot of discussions around this city’s ever-growing inequality problem – The Guardian did a deep-dive on this in a feature published earlier this year, examining problems around the mix of social, affordable and private housing in the area.
Amid the playful race to book spaces at lidos across the city this summer, this one has certainly become the most controversial pool out there.