- Beijing National Aquatics Center
National Aquatics Center Water Cube
The National Aquatics Center, with the Beijing National Stadium in the background
Building information Full name: National Aquatics Center City: Beijing, China Capacity: 17,000 Built: 2004–2007 Opened: 2008 Construction cost: ￥10.2billion Architect(s): PTW Architects, CSCEC, CCDI, and Arup Pools Name Length Width Depth Lanes Main pool 50m 25m 3m 10
The Beijing National Aquatics Center (simplified Chinese: 北京国家游泳中心; traditional Chinese: 北京國家游泳中心), also officially known as the National Aquatics Center, and colloquially known as the Water Cube (Chinese: 水立方), is an aquatics center that was built alongside Beijing National Stadium in the Olympic Green for the swimming competitions of the 2008 Summer Olympics. Despite its nickname, the building is not an actual cube, but a cuboid (a rectangular box). Ground was broken on December 24, 2003, and the Center was completed and handed over for use on January 28, 2008. Swimmers at the Water Cube broke 25 world records during the 2008 Olympics.
In July 2003, the Water Cube design was chosen from 10 proposals in an international architectural competition for the aquatic center project. The Water Cube was specially designed and built by a consortium made up of PTW Architects (an Australian architecture firm), Arup international engineering group, CSCEC (China State Construction Engineering Corporation), and CCDI (China Construction Design International) of Shanghai. The Water Cube's design was initiated by a team effort: the Chinese partners felt a square was more symbolic to Chinese culture and its relationship to the Bird's Nest stadium, while the Sydney based partners came up with the idea of covering the 'cube' with bubbles, symbolising water. Contextually the cube symbolises earth whilst the circle (represented by the stadium) represents heaven. Hence symbolically the water cube references Chinese symbolic architecture.
Comprising a steel space frame, it is the largest ETFE clad structure in the world with over 100,000 m² of ETFE pillows that are only 0.2 mm (1/125 of an inch) in total thickness. The ETFE cladding allows more light and heat penetration than traditional glass, resulting in a 30% decrease in energy costs.
The outer wall is based on the Weaire–Phelan structure, a structure devised from the natural formation of bubbles in soap lather. The complex Weaire–Phelan pattern was developed by slicing through bubbles in soap foam, resulting in more irregular, organic patterns than foam bubble structures proposed earlier by the scientist Kelvin. Using the Weaire–Phelan geometry, the Water Cube's exterior cladding is made of 4,000 ETFE bubbles, some as large as 9.14 metres (30.0 ft) across, with seven different sizes for the roof and 15 for the walls.
The structure had a capacity of 17,000 during the games that is being reduced to 7,000. It also has a total land surface of 65,000 square meters and will cover a total of 32,000 square metres (7.9 acres). Although called the Water Cube, the aquatic center is really a rectangular box (cuboid)- 178 metres (584 ft) square and 31 metres (102 ft) high.
The Aquatics Center hosted the swimming, diving and Synchronized Swimming events during the Olympics. Water polo was originally planned to be hosted in the venue but was moved to the Ying Tung Natatorium.
Many people believe the Water Cube to be the fastest Olympic pool in the world. It is 1 meter deeper than most Olympic pools. Up to a certain limit, beyond which swimmers will lose their sense of vision, deeper pools allow the waves to dissipate down to the bottom, leading to less water disturbance to the swimmers. The pool also has perforated gutters on both sides to absorb the waves.
After the Olympics, the Water Cube was opened to the public on select days of the week beginning in June 2009, and was also used as the site for a production of Swan Lake amongst other shows. The building's popularity has spawned many copycat structures throughout China. On October 19, 2009, the Water Cube was closed to the public to begin a massive renovation of a portion of the complex into a water park. The building re-opened on August 8, 2010, marking the two year anniversary of the beginning of the 2008 Summer Olympics. The redesigned facility contains numerous water rides and slides, a wave pool, and spa areas. The renovations were performed in order to bring renewed interest to the Olympic Green area as part of the games' legacy.
“ The special award for the most accomplished work in the section Atmosphere is awarded to the Australian architecture firm PTW Architects, CSCEC + Design and Arup for the project National Swimming Centre, Beijing Olympic Green, China. The project demonstrates in a stunning way, how the deliberate morphing of molecular science, architecture and phenomenology can create an airy and misty atmosphere for a personal experience of water leisure ”— Quote from the Jury report of the Official Awards 9th International Architecture Exhibition – METAMORPH, Venice Biennale
- 2004 – Venice Biennale – Award for most accomplished work Atmosphere section
- 2006 – Popular Science Best of what's new 2006 in engineering
- 2008 – NSW 'Project of the Year' award from the Australian Institute of Project Management
- 2009 – 40th annual MacRobert Award, the UK's biggest prize for engineering innovation
- 2010 – International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering 2010 Outstanding Structure Award
- ^ Official Olympics Site National Aquatics Center
- ^ National Aquatics Center Delivered for Use, Beijing 2008 Olympics Official Web Site, January 28, 2008,
- ^ a b Scott M. Reid (August 18, 2008). "25 world records broken at Beijing's Water Cube". Orange County Register and MSNBC. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26268614/.
- ^ "Cube becomes Park for Olympic Revival". http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90782/92900/6887960.html.
- ^ a b Farrar, Lara. "Beijing's Water Cube now has slides, rides, a wave pool and spa". CNNGO. http://www.cnngo.com/explorations/play/beijings-watercube-water-park-now-open-040746?hpt=C2. Retrieved 15 August 2010.
- ^ Arup East Asia. "The Water Cube, National Aquatics Centre, Beijing". http://www.arup.com/eastasia/project.cfm?pageid=1250. Retrieved August 17, 2008.
- ^ PTW Architects
- ^ a b Welcome to WaterCube, the experiment that thinks it's a swimming pool by Peter Rogers in The Guardian, May 6, 2004
- ^ a b c d e arup.com (2006). "Best of What's New 2006 – Engineering". Popular Science 269 (6): 84–85. http://www.popsci.com/popsci/flat/bown/2006/product_41.html
- ^ Beijing venues – National Aquatics Center, on BBC Sports.
- ^ a b Pearson, Clifford (July 2008). "Projects: National Swimming Center". Architectural Record (McGraw Hill) 196 (7). http://archrecord.construction.com/projects/portfolio/archives/0807nationalswimming-1.asp. Retrieved August 16, 2008.
- ^ Casino Oceanus – The Unofficial Casino Oceanus Website from www.oceanus.asia
- ^ China's Olympic Swimming Pool: Redefining Fast
- ^ Barbara Demick. "Beijing's Water Cube Still Drawing Crowds. Los Angeles Times. Aug. 13, 2009. 
- ^ http://www.ebeijing.gov.cn/BeijingInformation/BeijingNewsUpdate/t1089220.htm
- ^ "PTW Projects:Watercube-National Swimming Centre". http://www.ptw.com.au/index.html. Retrieved December 6, 2006. (page in Flash presentation)
- ^ http://www.arup.com/australasia/newsitem.cfm?pageid=11834
- Water Cube at Beijing.cn
- Beijing2008.cn profile
- Official website
- Beijing Water Cube video
- National Geographic Channel
- Arup in Beijing
- ptw architects
- National Aquatics Center (Water Cube)
- chris bosse
- Science News article describing the design of the building and the mathematics behind it
- Vector Foiltec homepage
- Beijing 2008 @ OOne
- News and Project Information on the Watercube, Beijing
- Conceptualising, planning and engineering the Water Cube
- Gallery, architecture images
- Consulting services performed by RWDI
Venues of the 2008 Summer Olympics New venuesBeijing National Stadium · Beijing National Aquatics Center · Beijing National Indoor Stadium · Beijing Shooting Range Hall · Wukesong Indoor Stadium · Laoshan Velodrome · Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park · China Agricultural University Gymnasium · Peking University Gymnasium · Beijing Science and Technology University Gymnasium · Beijing University of Technology Gymnasium · Olympic Green Tennis Center Existing venuesOlympic Sports Centre · Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium · Workers Stadium · Workers Indoor Arena · Capital Indoor Stadium · Fengtai Softball Field · Ying Tung Natatorium · Laoshan Mountain Bike Course · Beijing Shooting Range Clay Target Field · Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium · Beihang University Gymnasium Temporary venues Venues outside Beijing1904: Forest Park • 1908: White City Stadium • 1912: Djurgårdsbrunnsviken • 1920: Stade Nautique d'Antwerp • 1924: Piscine des Tourelles • 1928: Olympic Sports Park Swim Stadium • 1932: Swimming Stadium • 1936: Olympic Swimming Stadium • 1948: Empire Pool • 1952: Swimming Stadium • 1956: Swimming/Diving Stadium • 1960: Stadio Olimpico del Nuoto • 1964: National Gymnasium • 1968: Francisco Márquez Olympic Pool • 1972: Schwimmhalle • 1976: Olympic Pool • 1980: Swimming Pool - Olimpisky • 1984: Olympic Swim Stadium • 1988: Jamsil Indoor Swimming Pool • 1992: Piscina Municipal de Montjuïc • 1996: Georgia Tech Aquatic Center • 2000: Sydney International Aquatic Centre • 2004: Athens Olympic Aquatic Centre • 2008: Beijing National Aquatic Center • 2012: Aquatics Centre • 2016: Maria Lenk Aquatic Center List of Olympic venues in swimming1896: Bay of Zea • 1900: Seine • 1904: Forest Park • 1908: White City Stadium • 1912: Djurgårdsbrunnsviken • 1920: Stade Nautique d'Antwerp • 1924: Piscine des Tourelles • 1928: Olympic Sports Park Swim Stadium • 1932: Swimming Stadium • 1936: Olympic Swimming Stadium • 1948: Empire Pool • 1952: Swimming Stadium • 1956: Swimming/Diving Stadium • 1960: Stadio Olimpico del Nuoto • 1964: National Gymnasium • 1968: Francisco Márquez Olympic Pool • 1972: Schwimmhalle • 1976: Olympic Pool • 1980: Swimming Pool - Olimpisky • 1984: Olympic Swim Stadium • 1988: Jamsil Indoor Swimming Pool • 1992: Piscines Bernat Picornell • 1996: Georgia Tech Aquatic Center • 2000: Sydney International Aquatic Centre • 2004: Athens Olympic Aquatic Centre • 2008: Beijing National Aquatic Center, Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park • 2012: Aquatics Centre, Hyde Park • 2016: Fort Copacabana, Olympic Aquatics Stadium1984: Olympic Swim Stadium • 1988: Jamsil Indoor Swimming Pool • 1992: Piscines Bernat Picornell • 1996: Georgia Tech Aquatic Center • 2000: Sydney International Aquatic Centre • 2004: Athens Olympic Aquatic Centre • 2008: Beijing National Aquatic Center • 2012: Aquatics Centre • 2016: Olympic Aquatics Stadium Notable buildings and structures in Beijing from the modern eraBeijing National Stadium · Beijing National Aquatics Centre · Beijing National Indoor Stadium · Beijing Railway Station · CCTV Headquarters · CCTV Tower · The China World Trade Center · Diaoyutai State Guesthouse · Great Hall of the People · Mausoleum of Mao Zedong · Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution · Monument to the People's Heroes · National Centre for the Performing Arts · National Library of China · National Museum of China · National Art Museum of China · Workers Stadium · Workers Indoor Arena
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