"Watercube" - National Swimming ­Centre in Beijing

The National Aquatics Centre, the venue for the swimming competitions at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, is located together with other sports facilities on the Olympic Boulevard, which extends the centreline of the Forbidden City. With a side length of 177 m and a height of 31 m above street level, the building will become one of the main structural attractions of Beijing. When compared with the oval, red National Stadium, the shimmery blue cube represents the polarity and mutual complementariness of ying and yang. It combines water as a structural and thematic leitmotif with the square, the archetype of the house in Chinese tradition and mythology. Its lightweight construction is derived from the geometric structure of water in the physical condition of foam. The double-shell EFTE cladding can also be experienced from the interior spaces and acts as a partition, dividing the 80?000 m2 of the cube into three rectangular functional areas. Taking the Weaire-Phelan structure (which appears naturally in crystals, for example) as a basis, Arup developed the structure for the Water Cube on the computer using rotation and several cutting operations. The 3D model was the binding standard for all those involved in the construction.
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