Amongst the many architectural highlights of the new Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort in Singapore, one tops them all literally. Situated on top of the three hotel towers on the 57th storey, the Sands SkyPark is a 340-metre long superstructure that comprises landscaped gardens, dining facilities, an entertainment venue and an impressive 150-metre infinity-edged swimming pool that offers unhindered views of the Singapore skyline.
The person responsible for the design of the Marina Bay Sands is none other than world-renowned architect, Moshe Safdie. Concerning the design concept of the Skypark pool, he said, “When we positioned the SkyPark on top of the separate towers, it then connected them as a cohesive unit, creating what is now something of a symbolic gateway to Singapore. It also became a spectacular opportunity to position many of the amenities of the Hotel, including gardens, restaurants and a one-of-a-kind swimming pool. It was important we capitalised on the swimming pool's unique location 200 meters in the air, so we created a dramatic 150-metre long infinity edge facing the city. The infinity edge combined with the pool's iridescent tile finish blends the pool water surface seamlessly with the Singapore sky.”
Known to be the world’s largest outdoor pool at such a high elevation, the SkyPark pool invariably posed some engineering challenges for the team. “The key to the design was the ability to achieve a single continuous infinity edge across the entire length of the SkyPark. The two primary issues were differential tower movement and building settlement over time…It was the ultimate goal that the complex engineering that went into the design solution, was completely integrated and hidden, so as to keep the experience clean and simple. The collaboration between the design and technical teams was critical in this sense,” explained Moshe Safdie.
Constructed by design-and-build pool specialist, Innovez Sports Technologies, the Sands SkyPark pool is built completely out of high-grade low-carbon stainless steel. Marcus Ng, Project Director of Innovez Sports Technologies, explained, “Stainless steel, given its lightweight, strength and flexibility, was the best solution we had in delivering this design. Paired with inventive engineering solutions, we were able to create a pool that could accommodate the building movements so as to maintain a seamless continuity of one body of water.”
Of the many creative engineering solutions, two were particularly instrumental to the successful construction of the pool. Comprising of three separate 50-metre-long stainless steel enclosures, the pool is connected at each joint by 4-tonne moveable terraces that function like “bridges”. Not only do these terraces allow for movement across its length, it also serves to connect three separates pools so that it appears as one. In addition, the stainless steel enclosures are built on jacklegs that can be adjusted according to building settlement. “Since the pool straddled three towers, we had to ensure that the solution could accommodate the different heights as the buildings settle. Building the pool on the hydraulic jacks was an immense benefit, it allowed us to adjust each jack – in a vast network of over 490 jacks under the pool – so that the leveling of the pool can be achieved,” said Marcus Ng.
The engineering ingenuity extends to many other aspects of the pool. A maze of flexible pipes and joints runs beneath the pool to accommodate building settlement and movement. The pool tiles were specially selected and flown in from Spain as it meets the deflection criteria of the stainless steel pool. The 150-metre-long infinity edge overflow trough doubles up as the balancing tank, which is a mandatory feature for water sanitation of all swimming pools, freeing up valuable space.
In spite of the complexity and magnitude of the project, the Sands SkyPark pool was built over a mere span of 7 months. The speed of construction can be attributed in a large part to the pre-fabrication of the stainless steel. Craig Glover, Deputy Director of Construction of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel elaborated on the process, “We were able to speed up the process of building the pools by manufacturing the shells or tubs of each pool out of stainless steel in transportable sections and lifting them into place on the SkyPark from the heavy duty tower cranes. Each large section was then welded on site to form the shell of the pools. Similarly, the infinity edge weir was pre-manufactured off site as were the cells for the steps and wading sections that were all welded together once lifted into position. Other advantages and time saving for the modular design was to enable the walls of the shell to be welded together whilst the concrete and waterproofing works were happening at the same time on the platform that receives the floor of the pool shell. In effect, the pool contractor was able to chase the concrete contractor from one end to the other allowing a seamless transition and zero downtime from one trade to the next.”
“Given the rapid timeline of the construction, there were a lot of workers, equipment and material on-site as various contractors were working concurrently towards completion. The pre-fabrication of the stainless steel gave us the luxury of space to work offsite until installation. In addition, the modular nature of the installation meant that pre-fabrication and installation could happen concurrently. This freed up a lot of time and resources and more importantly maximised our effectiveness on-site,” said Marcus Ng.
Quick Facts Of The SkyPark Pool
Length: 150 metres
Breadth: 8 metres usable breadth
Depth: 1.2 metres
Total volume of water: 1.4 million litres
Total pool surface area: 1,396 m2
Elevation: 57 stories, 200 metres above ground
Weight of pre-fabricate stainless steel used: 192 kgs
Number of tiles that cover the pool: 254,000
About Innovez Sports Technologies
Innovez Sports Technologies Pte Ltd (innovezsports.com) is a design-and-build pool specialist that builds commercial and public swimming pools, water features and spas. Innovez focuses on innovative building solutions to push the boundaries of design innovation and engineering. Foremost on its list of innovative technologies is pre-fabricated high-grade low carbon stainless steel.