sharing the Olympic spirit

Beijing unveils 'cool' Water Cube swimming venue for Olympics
By Cui Xiaohuo (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-01-29 10:05



The National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube - one of the two iconic venues for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was unveiled here on Monday.

It was the public's first look at the building after little more than three years of construction.

So far the venue has been dubbed the "cool" building of the Games with its translucent, blue-toned outside skin resembling a cube of bubbles。

The center, will host its first event - the "Good Luck Beijing Swimming China Open” - from January 31 to February 5.

The venue has 6,000 permanent and 11,000 temporary seats.

Like the 91,000-seat National Stadium – nicknamed the "Bird's Nest," which is due for completion in March - both venues are seen as works of art and will anchor the Olympic Green area.

The water cube was built at a cost of more than US$200 million with donations of US$110 million coming from people in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan Province.

Forty-two gold medals will be handed out at the Water Cube during the Olympics, which start on August 8.

According to John Pauline of PTW Architects, one of the lead architects on the Water Cube, the venue was designed for use after the games even 30 or 40 years from now.

Down the track the venue will be converted to a shopping area and leisure center with tennis courts, retail outlets, nightclubs and restaurants.

The timeline of the Water Cube construction

 December 24, 2003, earthworks started.

 April 10, 2006, main structure topped off; steel structure installed.

 June 16, 2006, supportive structures removed.

 August 1, 2006, first air cushion installed.

 December 26, 2006, membrane structures installed outside.

 March 2007, municipal engineering works beginning.

 September 2007, electro-mechanical equipment installed.

 January 28, 2008, the venue inaugurated and delivered for use.















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