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Of Soil and Water: King's Cross Pond

London, United Kingdom
1 of 9© John Sturrock

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. OOZE and Marjetica Potrč occupied a temporary site in the midst of the King’s Cross construction site in London and created a micro-ecological environment with a natural swimming pond at its centre.

The water in the pond is purified by natural processes using plants, nutrient mineralization and a set of filters to supplement natural filtration so it is free of chemicals. 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.

Landscape in Motion

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.

The project was awarded by the IPA at Shanghai University in 2021.