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Water Cube, Beijing

National Aquatics Center, one of the landmark buildings of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, is located inside the Beijing Olympic Green. It is axially related to the National Stadium on the north part of Beijing Central Axis and reinforces the historical and cultural features of Beijing city.

The Beijing National Aquatics Center, also known as the National Aquatics Center, better known as the Water Cube, is an aquatics center that was built alongside Beijing National Stadium in the Olympic Green for the swimming competitions of the 2008 Summer Olympics.

The National Aquatic Center will host the diving, swimming and synchronized swimming events at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games. Known as the Water Cube, this one of a kind aquatic center has a bubbled surface that absorbs solar radiation and reduces thermal loss.

The building's structural design is based on the natural formation of soap bubblesThe structural design is based on the natural formation of soap bubbles which give a random, organic appearance. To achieve this, research was undertaken by Weaire and Phelan (professors of physics) into how soap bubbles might be arranged into an infinite array.

To bring the design to life, the individual bubbles were incorporated into a plastic film and tailored like a sewing pattern. An entire section was pieced together and then put into place within the structure. There are interior and exterior films. The plastic film was then inflated and continously pumped.

The actual pumping has been sub-contracted, and the operator will be responsible for both the operation and maintenance of the fa?ade for ten years. This was a key component of the contractor's brief.

Water Cube, Beijing
Water Cube, Beijing

The project was an opportunity for Arup to offer it's expertise in sustainable services. The building uses solar energy to heat the pools and the interior area, and all backwash water is filtered and returned to the swimming pools.

Many people believe 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.

With the popularity of the newly introduced faster Speedo LZR Racer swim suit, the Aquatics Center saw 25 world records broken in the Beijing Olympics.

Edited By Athena Lee
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