The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games are scheduled to be conducted from August 08 to 24, 2008 in China.
The newly built blue-colored National Aquatics Center (NAC) at Beijing, called as Water Cube was inaugurated on January 28 and is now ready to host Aquatics(Swimming, Synchronized Swimming, Diving and Water-Polo). The Water Cube is expected to declare 46 Olympic Gold Medalists. The water Cube is constructed in a vast area of 79,532 square meters and has a seating capacity of 17,000 (6,000 permanent and 11,000 temporary).
To make this Water Cube ready for Olympic Games, China would be hosting
- “Good Luck Beijing” Swimming China Open from January 31 to February 5.
- the 16th FINA Diving World Cup 2008 from February 19 to 24.
- the 2008 Olympic Games Synchronized Swimming Qualification Tournament from April 16 to 20.
Some of the interesting features of the Water Cube considered as an Green Architectural Wonder are:
- In July 2003, the design of the NAC was officially finalised.
- The work was commenced on December 24, 2003 and after completion was inaugurated on January 28, 2008.
- Budgeted cost:1 billion yuan (US$130 million). Actual cost likely to exceed.
- The only venue for the Beijing Games that was constructed with donations from overseas Chinese.
- The transparent blue rectangular bubbles that look like water bubbles which form the external structure of the Water Cube are made from membrane like light weight transparent material known as ETFE cushions.
- ETFE (Ethylene-Tetra-Fluoro-Ethylene) air cushions allow high levels of natural daylight into the building and harness solar energy to heat the building and the pool.
- 3,000 cushions were installed at the Water Cube covering a total area of 110,000 square meters.
- The ETFE cushions, which are expected to last for up to 30 years, can withstand the full force of an adult jumping repeatedly on them.
- By using the light weight ETFE, Water Cube’s structural steel weight and cost was considerably reduced.
- Further cost reductions were done by manufacturing this ETFE through Joint Venture locally thus avoiding imports.
- Use of ETFE in Water Cube is not only the first of its kind in China and is the world’s largest and most complex ETFE project.
- The participants and spectators would enjoy soft natural lighting inside the Water Cube.
- Solar energy panels are used to control the temperature of the pools and interior.
- Water Cube will be able to recycle 80 percent of the water used. This will have environmental benefits and also make the complex much more self-reliant in terms of its water supply.
- Also the design of Water Cube is unique in terms of water-saving and environmental protection. The outer surface and roof facade can harvest 10,000 tons of rain water, 70,000 tons of clean water and 60,000 tons of swimming pool water annually.
- The venue can also save 140,000 tons of recycled water a year.
- Co-designed by the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC), Arup Engineering Group and PTW Architects.
- Other environmental design efforts covered an air-conditioning system, surface water exploitation and ventilation system.
After the Games, Water Cube would become a multi-purpose leisure and swimming center including a gym and an ice rink.
Click here to view Olympic Games schedule.
Some photographs of Water Cube
Update: April 29
Click here to view some fire drill photographs conducted on April 28. View it on IE Tab.
Update: June 18
Athletes will compete in 302 events (165 male events, 127 female, and 10 mixed) at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. View INFOgraphics from RIA Novosti.
Here view a video of Water Cube
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