Photo by Kevin Chu, courtesy of Marc Gordon/Spacesmith

Brooklyn Bridge Park‘s Pop-Up Pool first appeared in 2012, and has been offering New Yorkers of all ages a chance to refresh themselves in its cool blue waters ever since. Originally intended to last for only five seasons, it now looks like the pool is here to stay for at least one more year. This is partly due to the enthusiastic local support it has garnered, but its longevity also is a testimony to the strength of its design.

Rendering courtesy of Marc Gordon/Spacesmith

Creating an efficient and durable design plan for the pool was no easy task. The fact that it came into existence at all was due to a fortunate combination of the right circumstances. In 2012, Brooklyn Bridge Park was undergoing development, but the pool’s designers were able to lock down a small area not undergoing work. They installed the pool and agreed that it would be shut down in five years to make room for more construction.

Photo by Kevin Chu, courtesy of Marc Gordon/Spacesmith

“I think it was a really great idea to come up with instead of leaving the land unused until development,” Marc Gordon the pool’s head designer and partner of the architecture firm Spacesmith, tells Untapped Cities. “This was something that would give back to the community and would compliment the uses of the park, being right on the water.”

There were several challenges that stymied the pool’s development along the way. For example, the park did not want to do any major excavation for a pop-up project. The largest problem, though, was that the land where the pool was to be built was fortified by concrete slabs, which prevented the construction company from digging down into the ground. The pool had to be raised up off the ground, making it literally “pop-up” out of the earth.

The designers rose to the challenge, creating ramps and using foundations of old buildings to bring the pool into existence. They provided beach sand and added three feet of drainage underneath.

Photo by Kevin Chu, courtesy of Marc Gordon/Spacesmith

In order to add to the pool’s peaceful beachside ambiance, the designers created a wall in between the Brooklyn Queens Expressway and the pool, which also insulates a snack bar and a store. Since then, the pool has been Brooklyn’s very own little self-sufficient oasis, a world away from the transit-heady madness of the Brooklyn Bridge.

“There’s really no place to swim or cool off in the park,” said Gordon. “This was something that the community really used, and so they rallied to have it remain.”

Photo by Kevin Chu, courtesy of Marc Gordon/Spacesmith

The pool is only four feet deep and 30 by 50 feet, but Brooklynites come from every borough to use it each summer. This year, the people who use the pool rose to its defense in the face of its impending demise. Brooklyn families and senator Daniel Squadron banded together to ensure that the pool could stay for at least one more season, and hopefully many more to come. They created the volunteer group “Love Our Pool,” which garnered over a thousand signatures in support of the pool’s preservation, and managed to secure a one-year extension.

Photo by Kevin Chu, courtesy of Marc Gordon/Spacesmith

“People should understand that if they fight for something they want they can usually get it,” said Gordon. “Community organizing and being able to change something for the better is in everyone’s power. It’s just a matter of rallying support.” He added that although the pool may not stay as it is, and could undergo new developments or new designs, it will be open as it is all summer for the people who use and love it.

For more, check out this article on 10 of NYC’s most unique swimming pools, past, present, and future and this article on the top 10 secrets of Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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