Though an apparently madcap idea, the early involvement of engineers at Arup suggested that the +Pool concept, to float a cross-shaped swimming pool in one of New York's rivers, might just become a reality. Now its designers at Family and PlayLab have launched a Kickstarter campaign to let backers buy pieces of the pool a tile at a time.
This is actually Family and PlayLab's second run on Kickstarter, having raised a little over US$40,000 in funding in July of 2011. Then they were selling stickers, sunglasses and beach balls in exchange for donations. This time around, Family's Dong-Ping Wong and Oana Stanescu, and PlayLab's Archie Lee Coates IV and Jeffrey Franklin are selling engraved tiles that will see the names of backers become a permanent fixture when the pool is eventually built.
If the campaign reaches its $250,000 target, the +Pool team intends to build a test case in the East River. Dubbed Float Lab, the 35 x 35 ft (10.7 x 10.7 m) pool would be used to test a variety of materials – an essential step given that the plan is to eventually filter river water to use in the +Pool itself.
Float Lab would be a fraction of the size of the final +Pool, which is intended to be 164 x 164 ft (50 x 50 m) and hold 285,000 gallons of water.
With 50 hours to go, the campaign is still $32,000 short of its target. For $25 backers can have their name alongside seven others on one of the pool's tiles. For $199, backers can reserve a tile of their own, and will also receive a copy to keep at home. The designers calculate that if all 70,000 tiles were sold, the $15 million budget needed for the +Pool itself would be met.
Whether or not the campaign meets its target, it seems likely the team will explore other avenues for funding. Judging by the "hundreds of meetings" the team has attended, they've come too far to let it hang in the balance of a Kickstarter campaign.
The obligatory campaign video is below.