Kickstarter At Its Craziest: A Pool That Floats In NYC’s East River

Because god knows you can’t swim in the East River otherwise.

Kickstarter sure has some weird projects seeking your patronage, but one of the oddest — but also cleverest — is + Pool, a public swimming pool literally floating in the East River between Brooklyn and Manhattan. It could also be moved to the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey, or parked off Ellis Island. Rad!


The verdict is in from Arup’s brainiacs: it’s totally doable.

Though it sounds crazy, similar projects have happened before in Germany, New York, and even private homes. + Pool is a collaboration between three designer dudes from two NYC-based firms — Archie Lee Coates IV and Jeffrey Franklin from Playlab and Dong-Ping Wong from Family — and it’s appropriately whimsical yet well-thought-out. The main draw of the project is to provide a way for New Yorkers to take a dip in the river without becoming a CHUD from all the chemical gunk. “It filters river water through the pool’s walls – like a giant strainer dropped into the river,” they explain on their Kickstarter page. “The concentric layers of filtration materials that make up the sides of the pool are designed to remove bacteria, contaminants and odors, leaving only safe and swimmable water that meets city, state and federal standards of quality.”

Any major public works project in NYC has to appeal to a lot of competing groups at once, and + Pool’s physical design cleverly takes this into account. It’s shaped like a giant Red Cross symbol, so that it can become “four pools in one” for different age groups or use cases (like holding lap races). After launching their concept designs last summer, the boys soon found themselves teaming up with engineering brainiacs at Arup to do feasibility reports. The verdict is in: it’s totally doable. Now they need $25,000 to actually build the filtration system and test it, which is where Kickstarter comes in. For some reason their redesigned project page doesn’t display the standard “how much is left to go” dollar amount, but judging on how many names they’ve listed as donors, they can’t be far off.

If all goes well — let’s face it, obtaining city permits is going to be much harder than just getting the filters to work — the team hopes to be able to take a dip in the + Pool-augmented river in the summer of 2012.

[Read more about + Pool at Kickstarter]


About the author

John Pavlus is a writer and filmmaker focusing on science, tech, and design topics. His writing has appeared in Wired, New York, Scientific American, Technology Review, BBC Future, and other outlets.