Of Soil and Water: King's Cross Pond Club
Natural bathing pond in the midst of urban regeneration
‘Of Soil and Water: The King’s Cross Pond Club’ was a public art project, commissioned by King’s Cross Central Partnership as part of the ‘Relay Art Program’. Occupying a temporary site in the midst of the King’s Cross construction site in London, it created a micro-ecological environment with a natural swimming pond at its centre.
The pond is free of chemicals – the water is purified by natural processes using plants, nutrient mineralisation and a set of filters to supplement natural filtration. Once cleaned, the water loops back in to the pond to complete the water cycle. The daily number of bathers is restricted by the amount of water the system is able to clean. Thus, the use of the pond remains in balance with what nature can absorb and regenerate. The soil zones around the pond range from an area of meagre soil and pioneer plants, to a meadow area of rich soil with lush grass and wild flowers. As they grow, the plants clean and enrich the soil.
The enclosed site presents the natural environment in miniature, a landscape in motion, a theatre of ecological cycles: the water cycle, plant cycle and soil cycle. It is a mise en scène of the processes that occur between humans, water, soil and plants. Here, the joy of swimming combines with awareness of our responsibility toward the environment. The elevated pond becomes a stage where the swimmers perform the balancing act of coexisting with nature. From this stage, they can watch the evolution of the surrounding neighbourhood and the ever-changing city, where new possibilities and new futures are being born.
Kings Cross, London, UK
OOZE (Eva Pfannes & Sylvain Hartenberg) and Marjetica Potrč
Stephanie Delcroix & Michael Pinsky, RELAY arts programme
King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership
Natural Pool Consultants: BIOTOP; Austria; BD Landscape; Planting: Stefanie Strauss, Rita Breker-Kremer; Paula Martinez (Ooze)