Beijing National Swimming Centre, Watercube, Building Image, Olympics, Pictures

Watercube Beijing : National Swimming Centre China

Aquatics Centre China design by PTW / Arup

Location: Beijing, China

Dates built: 2004-08

Design : Peddle Thorp and Walker – PTW with Arup

Watercube Beijing National Swimming Centre
photograph © Arup_Ben McMillan

8 Sep 2008

Water Cube Beijing

National Aquatics Centre – Water Cube

Beijing Olympics 2008 Venue
ETFE bubble-pattern façade – Architecture Competition win 2003

Watercube Beijing building China
photo © Arup_Ben McMillan

The National Aquatics Centre, also known as the ‘Water Cube’, will be one of the most dramatic and exciting sporting venues for the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. Enclosed within the blue bubble walls are five swimming pools, including a wave machine and rides and a restaurant, along with seating and facilities for 17 000 spectators.

Beijing National Swimming Centre
photo © Zhou Ruogu Architecture Photography

The Water Cube is located in the Olympic Green, the focal point for the Beijing Games. The design was voted as the clear winner by the people of China in a competition for their favourite design. The square shape of the Water Cube is a reflection of the Chinese symbol for Earth, while the adjacent circular form of the National Stadium, also design-engineered by Arup, represents Heaven.

The form of the Aquatics Centre was inspired by the natural formation of soap bubbles. Arup’s engineers realised that a structure based on this unique geometry would be highly repetitive and buildable while appearing organic and random. The result is a very simple regular building form, with very complex geometry in the façade which is used for beautiful effect.

National Swimming Centre Beijing Water Cube Beijing Watercube Watercube Beijing
pictures : PTW

The highly sustainable structure is clad with translucent ETFE (ethyl tetra fluoro ethylene), a tough, recyclable material that weighs just one percent of an equivalent sized glass panel. The bubble cladding of the Aquatics Centre lets in more light than glass and thoroughly cleans itself with every rain shower. It is also a better insulator than glass, and is much more resistant to the weathering effects of sunlight.

Although it appears fragile, the skin and structural form is very robust and is ideally suited to the seismic conditions found in Beijing. In fact, it is so strong that Arup’s computer models show that the structure can be placed on its end and still maintain its shape.

The Water Cube is specifically designed to act as a greenhouse. This allows high levels of natural daylight into the building and, as swimming pools require a lot of heating, harnesses the power of the sun to passively heat the building and pool water. Arup has estimated that this sustainable concept has the potential to reduce the energy consumption of the leisure pool hall by 30 per cent, equivalent to covering the entire roof in photovoltaic panels.

Water Cube Building Watercube Building
images : PTW + CSCEC

Water Cube Beijing Olympics – Building Information

Client: Beijing State-Owned Assets
Management Co: Arup Scope of Work
Full multidisciplinary service incl. structural, m&e, building physics & fire engineering
Size: 177 x 177 x 31m ; wall cavity is 3.6m deep and the cavity forming the roof is 7.2m deep
Gross Floor Area: 70 000m2
Seating: 17 000 seats

Project Manager: Three Gorges Corporation
Consortium Leader: China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC)
Architect: PTW Architects & China State Construction International;
Shenzhen Design Consulting Co; (CSCEC+DESIGN)
Opened: Jan 2008

National Swimming Centre China Watercube Beijing Watercube Beijing Watercube Beijing
photographs : PTW

National Aquatics Centre Information below from PTW:

Awards: 2004 Venice Biennale – Award for most accomplished work Atmosphere section
Location: Beijing Olympic Green, Beijing, People’s Republic of China
Consultant: PTW Architects In association with CSCEC and Arup
Client: People’s Government of Beijing Municipality, Beijing State-owned Assets Management Co., Ltd

PTW + CCDI + Arup won the International Design Competition for the Beijing 2008 Games aquatic centre. The scheme will meet international standards for competition, while maximising social and economic benefits. In addition to being an aquatic competition venue for the games, the centre will provide public multi-function leisure and fitness facilities before and after the games.

Water cube Beijing Watercube Beijing Watercube Watercube Beijing
images : PTW

The concept combines the symbolism of the square in Chinese culture and the natural structure of soap bubbles translated into architectural form. The design uses state-of-the-art technology and materials to create a building that is visually striking, energy efficient, and ecologically friendly.

The striking Watercube structure will be energy efficient by maximising natural light and capturing solar energy to heat the interior spaces as well as the pools. Water efficiency will be achieved by rainwater harvesting, recycling, efficient filtration and backwash systems.

Watercube Beijing Watercube Watercube China Watercube Beijing
photographs : PTW


Water Cube Beijing Olympics 2008 Venue building images / information from Arup in 2008

Location: Beijing, People’s Republic of China

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