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MORE ABOUT: National Aquatics Center (Watercube) – Beijing, China

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National Aquatics Center (Water Cube)
Olympic Park, Chaoyang District, China
39° 59′ 30″ N, 116° 23′ 3″ E (Google Map)

Completed: 2008 in 6 months
Architect: PTW
Architect of Record: China Construction Design Institute (CCDI)
Structural Engineering: ARUP
Construction Engineering: China State Construction Engineering Co (CSCEC)
Client: Beijing State-Owned Assets Management Co

The building’s form is inspired by the natural formation of soap bubbles.

“The Water Cube is designed to provide spectacular lighting effects to be seen by millions of people around the world during the Olympics and for years to come,” said Dr. XiGuang Fu, chief engineer for Grandar Landscape Lighting and Technology Group, the primary contractor for the lighting project.

Compared to the rectangular form of the houses and the city of Beijing, the form of Water Cube take on the traditional heritage of the harmony.

(Web article)

Enclosed within the blue bubble walls are five swimming pools and seating for 17,000 spectators.

(Image source)

The efficiency of soap-bubble structures is exploited. An optimum soap-bubble structure consists of 14-sided polyhedra, comprising six squares and eight equilateral hexagons.

Arup developed the constructional system for the Watercube in the computer through a process of rotation and a number of contting operations.

The generation of the facades of the Water Cube by Grasshopper in computer.

(Image source)

Floor Plans and Sections of the Water Cube.

The three-dimensional orthotropic loading bearing structure is an extremely efficient form of construction that can withstand earthquake, and that requires roughly 30% less steel than a column-and-beam system. (span of 100m, and height of 7.20m)

(Web article)

Joint details.

Thermal Transmission of the “skin”

The highly sustainable structure is clad with ethyl tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) that weighs just 1% of an equivalent sized glass panel. The bubble cladding lets in more light than glass and thoroughly cleans itself with every rain shower.

(Web Article)

Construction of the structure

Ceiling View

(Image source)

Interior views

(Image source)

(Image source)

The Water Cube is renovated into a water park after the 2008 Olympic Games by Toronto-based firm Forrec

(Web Article)

Case study by: Fan Feng
ARE 320K, Fall 2010

Other sources (UT Library):
“Engineering the Water Cube”, Architecture Australia, 2006 July-Aug., v.95, n.4, p.102-105.
“‘Watercube’ – Nationales Schwimmzentrum in Peking = ‘Water cube’ – National Swimming Centre in Beijing”, Detail (English; French; German; Russian ed), 2007 Dec., v.47, n.12, p.1469-1475,1559.

Written by Fan Feng

September 13, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Posted in Uncategorized