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The Watercube

Updated: May 27, 2018

Inspired by crystals, cells and molecular structures the Watercube Beijing is designed by LAVA and developed by PTW, CSCEC and ARUP.

The Watercube, also known as National Aquatics Centre in Beijing hosted the swimming and diving events of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. It is associated with water, as a structural and thematic “leitmotiv”, with the square, the primal shape of the house in Chinese tradition and mythology.

The entire structure of the Watercube is based on a unique lightweight construction, developed by PTW and CSCEC with ARUP, and derived from the structure of water in the state of aggregation of foam. Behind the totally randomised appearance hides a strict geometry that can be found in natural systems like crystals, cells and molecular structures. By applying this novel material and technology the transparency and apparent randomness is transposed into the inner and outer skins of ETFE cushions.

Unlike traditional stadium structures with their gigantic columns and beams, cables and back spans, to which a facade system is applied, the Centre’s architectural space, structure and facade are one and the same element.

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