A static and esthetic Masterpiece
A static and esthetic Masterpiece by Regina Enhuber | 23.01.2012
National Aquatics CenterOn the occasion of the Olympic Summer Games in 2008, the swimming hall designed by PTW Architects was opened and honored with particular admiration.
In 2008, the Olympic Summer Games took place in Beijing. The probably best known and also most unusual Olympic sports venue in Beijing was the round Olympic stadium and the square swimming hall, complementing each other like Ying and Yang. In Chinese mythology, the round shape stands for “sky”, the square for “earth”, opposing each other.
Like a Basin filled with Water
Die swimming hall found its place North from downtown area on the so-called Olympic Green. In 2003, Australian architectural team PTWhas won the competition, in cooperation with Arup and CSCEC. The planning and building phase lasted until spring 2008. Beijing’s new flagship object has a side length of 177 meters and is 31 meters high. On all in all 70,000 square meters, up to 17,000 visitors can find a seat.
The special thing about the swimming hall is its façade. At first, water in a bathtub or rather the foam comes to one’s mind. The building’s whole structure consists of a complicated foam grid, and an outstanding engineer’s performance was required to put this image into practice in a realistic looking way. The organic shape is stable within itself. The material used is sufficient to let the building shine in up to 1,670 colors through projections.
The unique geometry of the swimming hall has a heavily representative character and made a contribution of its own to the publicity of the Summer Games 2008. However, not only the shape makes the swimming hall something special, but also the energy efficiency enabled by the deployed materials.
Façade: Light and translucent
The façade consist of ETFE. This is a synthetic material which is particularly light and translucent, yet it is much better insulated than glass, for instance, which saves energy significantly. The fact that sunlight comes in saves 55% light energy, since up to 9 hours of daylight is sufficient for interior lighting. The glass house effect allows to heat up the hall and the water, cutting energy requirements by another 20%.
Rain water is also used in a sustainable manner. The façade’s synthetic coating doesn’t need to be cleaned, all which is required is rain water. Additionally, rain water is collected and filtered and re-used after treatment.
German companies, specialized in the research of sustainable materials, were in charge of manufacturing the surface material and the ceramic tiles.
More than a Fortnight Event
Today, the swimming hall is a versatile, public leisure time swimming venue. Its five pools, the pool with artificial waves and the slide paradise are so popular that around 2,500 visitors come here every day.
Energy efficiency and the well-made combination of competition and leisure time hall were the reasons for the swimming hall receiving numerous awards. In 2009, the engineers involved received the IOC/IAKS Award in Gold for sustainable sports buildings in operation.
Construction time: 2004–2007
GFA: 17,000 square meters