Marina Bay Sands is Singapore’s first integrated resort and its unique aquatic space is something of a structural masterpiece. Designed by architect Moshe Safdie, the SkyPark pool amenities span the width of all three soaring Marina Bay Sands hotel towers, 626 feet (55 stories) above the ground. It is the world’s largest infinity-edge pool at that height and has a 213-foot cantilever edge. Appearing to float like a ship across the top of the building, the pool literally spills over the astonishing 478-foot vanishing edge.
The SkyPark pool was built with 422,000 pounds of stainless steel and can hold 376,500 gallons of water. The interior is finished with 254,000 ceramic tiles adhered directly to the stainless steel shell. The total weight of the pool when filled with water is 3.6 million pounds and it has a flow rate of 5707 gallons per minute.
The structural bridges between each hotel tower were installed with a three-inch pitch, or camber, to accommodate the weight of the pool when filled with water. Because the pool was built atop three high rise towers, engineers had to consider the fact that wind and the force of gravity would cause the towers to sway and move independently of one another.
They accomplished this feat by constructing four movement joints beneath the main pool, each with a unique range of motion. The largest movement joint can accommodate a total range of motion of 19.68 inches. The three pool shells are joined by connectors at each of the movement joints. The connectors are submersed, allowing water to flow over them, creating one large recirculating body of water. The connectors double as shallow-water terraces for pool loungers.
In addition to wind, the hotel towers are subject to settlement over time that could cause the original construction plane of any one of the three pool shells to slope. Engineers designed and manufactured custom jack legs to allow for future adjustment at more than 500 points beneath the pool system. This jacking system ensures the infinity edge will remain level to within four millimeters of its original placement and continue to function properly.
A scale model was fabricated to simulate the movement joint and test different sealing methods. Using the mock-up, designers were able to troubleshoot and modify the sealing method to provide a superior product never before used in elevated pools.
Ideally raw materials could be shipped and field-fabricated to create the structural framing system on site. In this case, the construction team shared a very restricted space with multiple contractors on a construction site in the sky, so they developed a plan to prefabricate all of the components in their Indianapolis manufacturing facility and stage overseas shipments and site deliveries. These components obviously had to be shipped at very specific times during the course of the project. Logistical experts successfully divided each pool into unique segments.
Then, they continued to break down those segments in order to create sub-assemblies that could then be hoisted to the top of the towers via crane or service elevator, eliminating the need for extensive on-site welding and fastening tools to construct the pool shells. A total of 40,000 pieces were used to construct the pool enclosures; these pieces were condensed to fewer than 2000 sub-assemblies that were shipped in more than 30 ocean freight containers. They traveled a total distance of 9523 miles (15325 kilometers), “as the crow flies.”
NUTS & BOLTS
Cost: $80 billion
Aquatic space: 15,026 square feet
Dream amenities: There’s a 146-meter infinity-edge stainless steel pool, three large hydrotherapy spas, a wading pool and a reflecting pool.
- Dream Designer: Natare Corp.
- Architect: Moshe Safdie & Associates
- Aquatic Designer: Howard Fields & Associates
- International Structural Engineers: Ter Horst, Lamson & Fisk Structural Engineers
- Additional Contributor: Hoffman Engineering
- Clear Water Tech: Sanitization equipment
- Coates Heater Co.: Heaters
- Grundfos: Pumps
- Innovez: Flooring
- Natare: Gutters
- Pentair Water Commercial Pool and Aquatics: Chemical control systems, filters, pumps
- Ryersons: Steel
- Siemens Water Technologies: Water level controller