The National Aquatics Centre by Peddle Thorp and Walker, also known as the ‘Water Cube’, was one of the most dramatic and exciting sporting venues for the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. Enclosed within the blue bubble walls are five swimming pools, including a wave machine and rides and a restaurant, along with seating and facilities for 17,000 spectators.
Located in the Olympic Green, The Water Cube was designed to be the focal point for the Beijing Games. The square shape of the Water Cube is a reflection of the Chinese symbol for Earth, while the adjacent circular form of the National Stadium, also design-engineered by Arup, represents Heaven.
The Water Cube is specifically designed to act as a greenhouse. This allows high levels of natural daylight into the building and, as swimming pools require a lot of heating, harnesses the power of the sun to passively heat the building and pool water. Arup has estimated that this sustainable concept has the potential to reduce the energy consumption of the leisure pool hall by 30 per cent, equivalent to covering the entire roof in photovoltaic panels.