The Skypark pool atop
the Marina Bay Sands hotel, in Singapore, might be one of the most magnificent
pools on earth: It’s an infinity-edged oasis 650 feet above ground with a
mind-blowing view of the city’s skyline. It’s part of a massive rooftop
entertainment platform perched atop three skyscrapers
While it may vie for the
most dramatic, this high-altitude hot spot is now one of many built in major
metropolises. These days pools are popping up on top of skyscrapers from New
York to Sydney and everywhere in between, often with bars and restaurants that
help transform the pool deck into a social scene all its own.
“In densely populated
cities where space is at a such a premium, if you want to build something new
and innovative, the only place to go is up,” says Thompson Toronto project
architect Rob Cadeau, who turned the hotel’s rooftop into a gathering place by
designing a bar adjacent to the pool area. Other designers have used
increasingly dramatic effects—infinity edges, cantilevered pool tanks,
see-through flooring—in order to distinguish and gain international attention
for their offerings.
“Every time someone does
something new, someone else has to up the ante,” says Cadeau. “In the future,
we’re going to see even more acrobatic engineering on rooftops, features that
will stretch our perception of the pool edge, the height and the sensations you
experience once you’re swimming.”
The trend to create
entertainment hubs above the hectic urban bustle started a decade ago in New
York, where 35 hotels now feature a rooftop bar, many of which have pools.
Boutique properties like the Soho House were the first to get in on the action,
and other hotels followed suit, from Hotel Frasano’s Phillipe Starck–designed rooftop
pool in Rio de Janeiro to the Joule in Dallas, where part of the pool hangs off
Eventually the laws of
physics may keep designers from pushing the envelope any further. In the
meantime—the sky’s the limit.