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Are Private High-Rise Pools Mankind's Ultimate Hubris?

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First man tamed the land, and then he yoked him the waters of the sea, and then you skip a few steps, and he was living for weeks at a time in a house of metal and stone high up in the air, which he was able to partially acquire through means of a surprisingly affordable "time share." Now he wants a pool there, too. Developers are installing private pools in every unit of at least four towers currently under construction, says the Wall Street Journal, and some people are asking the obvious question: what if they leak? Also, at what point is a pool so small that it's essentially a lesser body of water, say, a slightly deep in-ground kiddie pool, or a Jacuzzi with no bubbles?

Private pools inside, on the edge of, or cantilevered off condominiums are the "latest frontier," says Hong-Kong based architect James Law, in the always expanding territory of speculative high-end development. You know who was also on the latest frontier? Icarus, whose own hubris sent him crashing into the sea. (God's pool.)

Law is designing Mumbai's 30-story Bandra Ohm residential tower, which will have about 100 units with crescent-shaped balcony pools built with acrylic, of the kind used to secure large aquariums. Developers seem set on exploring that frontier, despite the possibility for leaks, though some have their doubts. "If you're trying for a differentiator, that's a reason to do it," says New York developer I. Dolly Lenz. "But personally I wouldn't recommend the idea to a developer."

Still, they've been a "huge selling point" at the Bjarke Ingels-designed Honeycomb tower in the Bahamas, which is already 45 percent sold. Units there range from 2,500 to 5,800 square feet, and are right now priced from $3.5M to $15M.

Waterproof concrete, waterproofing membranes, and surrounding pockets of liquid PVC are used to prevent leaks. Soo K. Chan, architect and co-developer of New York's Soori High Line building, says its pools will be filled with water and left for a month to watch for leaks, and that each will be connected to a heat pump to keep them from freezing over. Meanwhile, at the Porsche Design Tower in Sunny Isles Beach (unit cost: $6.3M to $32.5M), the designers created a "master valve" to lower water levels across units, so that "the building doesn't look like it's crying" during storms. Why was I made so needlessly excessive? it might ask, through its tears.

All this for a pool you would way too easily lap, and could only play the tiniest game of pool volleyball in. (And what if your ball fell? What then?) Here is real estate executive Juan Pablo Verdiquio, to give you a taste of what goes through peoples minds as they buy up these units: "We always had houses with pools, but an apartment with those features? I wanted to be part of that."

Part of it, like it's some kinda revolution.

· Luxury Condos with Private Pools [WSJ]