When you're looking for a place to cool off this summer remember: not every pool is created equal. Here are 10 of the most innovative and ingenious swimming pools out there, boasting everything from self-filtration systems to mechanically moving floors.
A pool that can make even New York City's East River swimmable? That's the idea behind +Pool, a proposed public pool that floats along the city's waterways, filtering the bacteria and contaminants as it goes. Architect Dong-Ping Wong and designers Archie Lee Coates IV and Jeffrey Franklin came up with the idea in 2010, and it's since garnered plenty of support—especially through Kickstarter, where the team recently funded a 35 foot by 35 foot experimental version called Float Lab. This floating science lab is currently traversing NYC's waterways, testing and perfecting the filtration system before +Pool's 2016 slated opening.
Shaped like a plus-sign, the larger, 9,300 square foot pool will feature individual wings for training, sports, kids, and lounging, and can be refigured into one big Olympic-size pool if needed. It's designed to filter up to 500,000 gallons of river water daily, though they're still figuring out where all the junk that's filtered will go.
London Aquatics Centre, UK
If you feel the need for speed while swimming, this is your place. Built for the 2012 London Summer Olympics, the pools at the city's Aquatic Centre were designed with the athletes in mind. The main competition pool has a mechanical moving floor that's kept at a 10-foot depth during competition—just the right distance to dissipate waves created when swimmers kick. Gutters lining the pool's perimeter also help negate water turbulence that slows swimmers down. Even the rotating lane markers work to disperse energy, taking in the impact of each wave (and keeping them from entering neighboring lanes) as they spin. The center opened to the public in March 2014.
Glass-Bottom Pool, Holiday Inn Shanghai
It may not be the only sky-high glass-bottom pool in existence, but that doesn't make the swimming pool at the Holiday Inn Shanghai Pudong Kangqiao any less impressive and terrifying. Singaporean firm Chan Sau Yan Associates designed the 100 foot long, 20 feet wide cantilever pool (meaning there's no external bracing). Although less than half of the mostly indoor structure juts out into space from the hotel's 24th floor, it's enough to give the sensation that you're swimming in mid-air.
The Bondi Icebergs Pool, Sydney
The Bondi Icebergs pool in Sydney has been wowing crowds for more than a century. Built basically on top of the Tasman Sea, this Olympic-size public pool acts as an extension of the sea itself. When the waters outside are rough, waves crash into the pool, dousing swimmers as if they were out in the open ocean. The pool gets its water directly from the sea, though its concrete walls keep the H20 even cooler than it normally is—reaching temps as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit during their winter. The pool also boasts a massive deck where guests can sit back with a burger, fries, and beer, so bring your appetite.
Kings Pond at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Hawaii's Big Island
While having a pool to yourself is great, here is one time you won't mind sharing. Kings Pond at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on Hawaii's Big Island is a 1.8-million gallon pool stocked with more than 3,000 tropical fish and even a few spotted eagle rays. Carved out of the area's 200-year-old natural lava rock, the pool mimics the nearby ocean with its free-flowing shape and flat, sandy floor, and uses a mix of fresh water and ocean water that filters in with the tide through underground channels. Kings Pond waters vary in depth from 3 to 15 feet and are ideal for snorkeling.
Piscine Josephine Baker, Paris FR
While it's inadvisable to swim in Paris' River Seine, you should have no qualms about swimming on it. Piscine Josephine Baker is a floating aquatic center permanently moored on the river in the city's 13 arrondissement and is open to the public year-round. Built into the skeleton of a former barge, the center features a 82 foot by 32 foot glass-walled pool with a retractable roof that when open, makes it feel as though you're bathing in the Seine...without the pollution.
Starkenberger Brewery Beer Pools, Austria
The pools at Austria's Starkenberger Brewery offer visitors a reasonable excuse for reeking of alcohol: they're filled with beer. Located a few hours drive from Munich, the brewery is home to seven 13=feet long former fermenting tanks that hold a combined 22,000 gallons of concentrated beer yeast and water. All of the tanks are located in a cellar deep below Starkenberger's 700-year-old brew-castle, and are admittedly more for soaking (the booze-infused H20 is kept quite warm) than for swimming. Around $300 gets you and your friends a reserved pool for two hours, plus snacks and a complimentary brew.
NASA Pool, Texas
The world's largest indoor pool happens to also be a major training facility for cosmonauts. Located in Houston, Texas, the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory is where astronauts get their sea legs for outer space, so to speak, by spending up to six hours at a time mimicking space walking underwater. The pool, which is 202 feet long, 101 feet wide, and 40 feet deep, simulates the atmosphere around the International Space Station complete with life-size mockups of the station's various components. The pool holds up at 6.2 million gallons of water, which is recycled approximately every 20 hours and kept at 82 to 88 degrees F for the astronauts' safety and comfort.
Tropical Island Resort, Germany
Imagine: a lush tropical getaway just an hour outside of Berlin, Germany. That's the premise of Tropical Island Resort, a massive water-based 'holiday world' occupying a former airship hangar. It also happens to be one of the world's largest freestanding domes. The resort features restaurants, bars, and overnight accommodations ranging from rainforest tents to lodges. But the heart of the resort is its Tropical Sea, a massive stainless steel swimming pool that can hold up to 6,000 people and is three times as large as an Olympic-size pool. The water's kept to a warm 82F and the entire thing is lined by a sandy beach to give the illusion of an outdoor paradise.
Grand Wailea Canyon Activity Pool, Maui
This 2,000-foot-long, 770,000-gallon pool is actually nine pools connected by one continuous river. There are waterfalls, man-made caves, whitewater rapids, and water slides, though what's most impressive is the water elevator. It can carry guests from the lowest pool—which sits at sea-level—to the highest some 40 feet above. Visitors access the circular elevator through a water-proof door when the H20 level is at it's lowest, stand on a central platform or sit on the surrounding tube, and simply rise along with the water. It's ingenuous.
This story was originally written by Laura Kiniry and appeared here.