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Ripples #85
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Ripples #85

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Compiled and written by Lenny Giteck

Ripples artWealthy Brit to Build $16 Million
Basement for Swimming Pool

Back in 2011, Ripples ran an item about a pool-building trend in London: Wealthy residents of the city had taken to digging down under their palatial homes to create basements with all manner of comforts and attractions — indoor swimming pools perhaps foremost among them.

The mansion owners were forced to look downward because of the city’s small lots and stringent residential zoning restrictions. London’s less-than-optimal weather for outdoor swimming and sunbathing was also a factor.

Now Ripples updates the trend with a report on one newly proposed project — noteworthy for its physical size and the estimated size of its price tag.

According to, hedge fund mogul Edmund Lazarus — a major contributor to Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party — is planning on building a three-story structure underneath the garden behind his home in London’s Holland Park district.

The home itself cost Lazarus 16 million ($26.1 million); the proposed 16,000-square-foot add-on will run a cool 10 million ($16.3 million). The Web site reports that the subterranean addition is slated to include a 25-meter swimming pool, hot tub, sauna, steam room, gym, yoga studio, wine cellar, private cinema and cigar room. The bottom level will contain a laundry room, catering kitchen and staff room.

(You can see the plan for the project by clicking on the link below.)

Lazarus still needs official permission to pursue his dream. A number of similar projects have aroused considerable controversy and ire: In some cases, neighbors have complained bitterly about the noise, dirt and vibrations involved in the construction process. “Christoph Stanger, director of Goldman Sachs,” notes Daily Mail, “had to apologize to his furious neighbors last summer after his 1 million ($1.6 million) basement excavation left cracks in [their] properties.”

The Web site also reveals, “Ten years ago, the number of planning applications for basement extensions in Kensington and Chelsea was just 64. Last year, the number had soared to 307.”

To view the plan for the Lazarus project, click here.

Ripples Classic: Dec. 7, 2011

Half-Mile-Long Swimming Pool
Proposed for German Capital

If German architectural firm realities:united gets its way, the city of Berlin will boast the world’s longest swimming pool — a massive installation extending approximately a half-mile (the equivalent of 17 Olympic-size pools end-to-end).

The company’s vision is to transform an unused section of the River Spree, which flows through the city center, into a major recreational attraction for residents and tourists alike. The proposed project, called Flussbad, recently won first prize in the 3rd International Holcim Awards, a European competition for “sustainable construction projects.”

As technology e-newsletter Gizmag reports, “The renewal concept for the 3.9-hectare (9.6-acre) site is ‘surprisingly simple and very cost-efficient’ says realities:united. Parts of the Lustgarten quay would be transformed into stairs, creating an access point to the swimming pool, recreation gardens and functional facilities such as lockers, change rooms and bathrooms.”

The project’s sustainability presumably stems from the way the water is to be purified: “The plans incorporate an upper 1.8-hectare (4.4-acre) reed bed, which would naturally purify the water entering the swimming pool, whilst a barrage at the lower end of the system would prevent backflow of unfiltered water from the river.”

In awarding first prize to the Flussbad proposal, the Holcim Awards jury praised it as “an excellent example of what could be achieved within challenging inner city areas that possess a rich tradition and cultural heritage where the local public has been overlooked.”

To view artist renderings of the proposed Flussbad pool, click here.

And with that, Ripples once again says…
Until next time, happy watershaping to you!

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