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Water Cube – National Aquatics Center

Located on the west side of Landscape Avenue in the Olympic Green and to the west of Beijing National Stadium (Bird’s Nest), the National Aquatics Center contains the official 2008 Olympics swimming facility. The construction started on December 24th, 2003 and was finished on January 1st, 2008. It measures 177 meters (194 yards) long, 177meters wide, and 30 meters (98 feet) high and covers an area of 62,950 sq meters (75,287 sq yard). It has four floors: one at street level, two above, and one below. Its floor space reaches 79,532 sq meters (95,119 sq yard), while the below street level area is no less than 15,000 sq meters (17,939 sq yard). The one below served as the service area during the Olympics. The first floor is for tourists. The auditorium is on the second floor with 6,000 fixed seats (2,000 of which are movable), and 11,000 temporary seats. The third floor is strictly for business.

>>Design Idea

The Water Cube design combines modern technologies with Chinese traditional values. In tradition, Chinese conceptualized a square Earth and a round Heaven, and this formed the design’s central theme. Moreover, the cube shape dominates ancient urban buildings. The National Aquatics Center’s design is of traditional style to meet all its functional requirements.

The Blend of Architecture & Advanced Technology

The National Aquatics Center, designed by Chinese and Australian, is the first building in the world built upon “the soap bubble” theory, and sports a polyhedral steel-framed structure.

The ETFE (the ethylene-tetrafluoroethylene copolymer) membrane insulates the Water Cube. This advanced membrane structure is formed by 3,065 bubble-like pneumatic cushions of all sizes. The National Aquatics Center becomes the first large-scale public project coated with the membrane, and it also has set up a new world record for its massive deployment.

The National Aquatics Center looks like a huge blue box, from which it takes its nickname: the Water Cube. The Water Cube is blue in order to reflect sunlight. The National Aquatics Center shines in the sunlight like a pearl in water. From the inside of the National Aquatics Center, you may discover that the pneumatic cushions of all sizes are just like sea bubbles.

Various high technology and green technology are present in the National Aquatics Center construction. Popular Science magazine chose it the Best of What’s New of 2006.

>>Post-Games Uses

During the 2008 Olympic Games, the National Aquatics Center hosted swimming, diving, and synchronized swimming competitions. After the Games, the Water Cube turns into the international advanced center of swimming, sports, health-building services, and leisure activities.

The National Aquatics Center has temporary closed since October 2009. In 2010, the National Aquatics Center will reopen.

>>Functional Zones inside the National Aquatics Center

The Water World
You will be charmed by the Water World. You want to make a long pause.

The Watercube Waterpark
Open on August 8, 2010, this themed indoor waterpark is open after ten month’s renovation of the Water Cube. It is in the south part of the aquatics center. There are various of places inside the park to have fun: Tornado Rides, Bulletbowl, AquaLoop, Speedslide, Kid’s Pool, Ride House, Pipeline, Wave Pool, Spa Pool, Lazy River and Passion for Stage.

The SPA Zone
The SPA zone is equipped with international advanced SPA facilities and technology. It is a good place to relax.

Restaurants and Bars
Restaurants and Bars share the characteristics of the Water Cube’s design. You can enjoy gourmet meals in water-theme restaurants.

The Business Section
Wandering in the business section, you can see various souvenirs. You will also know more about the Water Cube and swimming events in the Olympic Games here, and the latest information about water.