If you are in the aquarium, museum display or pool panel manufacturing and installation business, one question always comes up. “How did they build and install that glass bottom pool in a Houston, TX apartment building 40 stories high?”
Since we employ one of the site superintendents, Marc Fields, who actually worked on the installation in 2016 before joining us at Titan Aquatic Exhibits, I thought I could get the details from him through a little Q&A interview.
Florida native, Marc Fields, moved to Arizona to join Titan as the Project Manager/Director of Onsite Operations. Besides having over 15 years of experience in planning, building and managing projects for nationally known zoos, theme parks and museums, he was one of the installers who went up in a swing cage to install what has become known as the “tallest pool in Texas”. Now this is not a task for the faint of heart, and if you have any fear of heights this would be a nightmare of a job.
Designed by Kudela & Weinheimer Landscape Architects, Marc said there were many aspects to this specific job and not only one company handled the entire thing. There is the manufacturer of the clear acrylic panel that constructed it in a shop (I was corrected that this was not built of glass, but it was in fact acrylic). In the shop the acrylic is thermalized and formed and then it is has to be craned and assembled. Usually when clear acrylic pool panels are installed at a home residence or a commercial location, you use a mobile crane to lift the panels up. For the Houston pool it took a tower crane to hoist the pool panels, up and he estimates the whole pool is probably 30,000 lbs. Marc and another colleague got in a swing cage with two motors (it took about 15 minutes to get past the 40th floor), removed any scratches and did a final polish before adding any silicone to make sure the aesthetics were just perfect.
“This job was exciting, but I had also been on the project at the well-known Florida Acqualina Tower Pool, so I had a bit of experience. The acrylic panels on this pool were around 8-9 inches thick. This pool isn’t for everyone though, swimmers either love it or won’t get near it. The glass-bottom pool look can make your heart race that high up,” said Marc Fields. “After being in the industry for over 15 years we have seen a lot of changes and advances in technology that have made jaw dropping projects possible. A common mistake made by most is that people think it is made by glass when in fact it is really acrylic the majority of the time. The benefits of using acrylic is its durability and flexibility. This means you can build it any shape you would like. Once that process is complete, it is actually stronger than glass, allowing you to create a bigger viewing area without concrete or steel pillars in the middle obstructing the view.”
Many have been confused on how this pool was made possible but now we have the facts. This is definitely a one of a kind project resulting in a pool that won’t be forgotten, and that is why Marc loves his job and takes pride in each and every one of his projects.