A Plus-Shaped Pool Looks to Clean Up New York’s East River [PSFK 2015]
Transforming New York’s East River; +Pool flips the model for civic projects
At PSFK 2015, Dong-Ping Wong introduces +Pool, a Kickstarter-backed project to bring the first floating pool to New York City’s East River. In this video, Wong explains the initiative and how his team re-imagined the stages and structure for building public infrastructure in urban landscapes that all can enjoy.
At its core, +Pool is about cleaning the river water in a city surrounded by combined sewage overflows. Rather than attempt to clean the entire river at once—a city vision still many decades out— the small team aimed to tackle one small spot to start; they joined forces with Columbia University to develop a mini Floatlab to test various filtration methods.
A city-wide conversation and community of support enabled the project to take shape initially. The estimated $2 million civic project garnered global attention and raised over $300,000 in funding on Kickstarter to make it one of the largest civic projects on the platform to date. Backers of the project received a personalized, real tile to be implemented in the physical design; the entire deck will be built with the names of people who wanted to help bring the pool to life.
“It was amazing that it resonated with so many people who just wanted to see something built in their city. This is a project that touches on so many different disciplines.”
The design process flipped the typical model for public projects. Their idea started with an olympic-size, plus shaped pool to include a lap pool, kids pool, sports pool and lounge pool. The team then looked for sites and funding mechanisms, and once both were secure, they engaged the city in regards to swimming codes and city laws.
“The end game is an experience of feeling the water and actually having a different way of understanding this city.”