WHAT architecture - London

Costa Del Thames

urban beach, pool, water slides, cafe, cinema
Scale1950 sqm
LocationLeamouth Peninsula
ClientBallymore and Newham Council
Budget€ 5000000
Design Year2012

Costa Del Thames recognises the British love of the Costa Del Brava, the Balearic Islands, Benidorm, Costa del Sol... yet such holiday destinations are driven by the sun (as the rain in Spain falls mainly on the planes bound for Stansted). Britain also has a beach tradition but these tend to be one-day or weekend excursions rather fortnightly vacations. Costa Del Thames attempts to create a leisure coastline at the very edge between Leamouth Peninsula and Bow Creek. That City Airport is 10minutes away enhances the urban getaway experience.

Much like when walking to the beach, in Costa Del Thames one's passage from entry to pool is by cafe and restaurant.  Here everything is included apart from the sun although solariums and heat lamps abound. Costa Del Thames is organised such that the pool is elevated overhead and the visitor is immediately submergered underwater. Elevating the pool is economically advantageous as digging sheet piling and then retaining the adjacent river was more expensive. This is a rooftop pool experience at ground level. One enters the pool Ursula Andress -like by emerging from below into the middle of the pool. The large timber sundeck is conceived as an overscaled sun lounger for 1000 people (with a Benidorm density of 1sqm per person). The structure gently slopes such that sun-deck transforms seamlessly into deeper waters for lap swimming and diving. The main pool has a glass side such that a swimmer can see the neighbouring river and vice versa: boat people can watch swimmers.