This award-winning building, commonly known as the ‘Water Cube’ (National Aquatics Centre) was the venue for the swimming and diving competitions of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games. Completed in January 2008, the design is based on the formation of soap bubbles, and is made of a steel frame filled with around 4,000 plastic bubbles of varying sizes. The design is incredibly energy-efficient, with the clear plastic bubbles allowing light and heat into the structure, which results in 30% lower energy costs. This building is a really striking landmark in the Olympic Village, second only to the world-famous ‘Bird’s Nest’ stadium, and is even more incredible at night, when the bubbles are lit from within by a vivid blue light.
During the Olympic Games, the Water Cube had a capacity of 17,000 spectators, who watched swimming, diving and synchronised swimming in what is hailed as the world’s fastest olympic pool, incorporating a number of high-tech devices to maximise swimmer efficiency. 25 world records were broken here during the olympic games, perhaps due to the pool’s special technological advances. Following the end of the Olympics, the audience capacity has been decreased to 6,000 and the centre will become a public leisure venue.