A self-described "cybertect" has designed a pair of apartment high-rises that feature balconies with swimming pools -- taking the "infinity pool" concept to a whole new level.
The residential complex -- commissioned by The Wadhwa Group, a real estate company in Mumbai, India -- is called Aquaria Grande and comprises 37-story twin towers with a distinctive, undulating shape. Each of the more than 200 apartments offers three-sided natural light, in an arrangement that also provides cross-ventiliation.
But the buildings' salient feature is surely the aqueous outgrowths that edge every unit, seeming to project perilously into the surrounding sky. Reaction from some quarters has been harsh: "No matter what you want to call this," Gizmodo's Jesus Diaz proclaimed, "I would call it crazy."
But structural engineer John Michael Grande, studio director at SuperStructures, says, "The concept of the swimming pool balcony, from an engineering standpoint, can certainly be accomplished."
"From a safety aspect," Grande explained, "a curb and railing system can be designed along the perimeter of the balcony that has a glass wall attached to it. If the glass wall were ever to blow out, the water would escape, but whoever was in the pool would be caught by the railing system."
"The glass wall, though, should never blow out if it is designed similarly to that of a looking glass at the bottom of an aquarium tank with Shamu the killer whale in it. And we all know how strong those glass walls are." Indeed.
"All that being said," Grande continued, "is this feasible or is it completely insane? Well, that's a matter of opinion. If you have enough money to throw at anything, you can get it done. It would be a tremendous cost. If a developer has a group of people they know they can sell these apartments to, they're going to build it because they can charge $5 million for them. You don't build it in Detroit, where nobody's going to buy them." In that sense, the advent of the swimming pool balcony is a testament to the rise of India, the world's 10th-largest economy by nominal gross domestic product, and third-largest by purchasing power parity.
The firm behind the design of Aquaria Grande is James Law Cybertecture International, which describes its neologistic speciality as "the merging of the disciplines of architecture design with state of the art technology to bring people together into a new Lifestyle of the Future."