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The National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube, is located on Olympic Green, with the Bird’s Nest Stadium, on Beijing's north-south axis.
It was built as the main natatorium for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and became known as one of the Games' iconic structures. It will host the curling at the 2022 Winter Olympics .
The Water Cube was designed by PTW Architects and Ove Arup. Their unique and inspired design was based on the way soap bubbles come together in a 12 or 14-sided cell structure. The surface of these “soap bubbles” will reflect sunlight and makes the building a water droplet glistening in the sunlight, from which it got its nickname: The Water Cube.
The Water Cube is 177 meters square and 30 meters high, and has a capacity of 17,000 seats (6,000 permanent and 11,000 temporary for the Olympics).
This seemingly simple "cube" was designed according to traditional Chinese culture as well as modern science and technology. Chinese people traditionally believed that Earth is square and heaven is round.
The square is the most basic form of ancient Chinese urban architecture, which reflects the rules of social life represented by ethics in Chinese culture. Chinese people believe that nothing can be accomplished without norms or standards (‘No rules; no square garden,’ as the classic saying goes).
Therefore, many Chinese architectural structures embody this philosophy. For example, the blue Water Cube complements the red, round Bird’s Nest in Beijing Olympic Park.
The Water Cube is an innovative building because of its architecture and structure, with a high technological content. The building’s exterior protection adopts a new environmentally friendly and energy-saving ETFE membrane material with a coverage area of 100,000 square meters, which is the world's largest ETFE application project.
The ETFE membrane materials have a low mass, are tough, and can absorb more sunlight. They don’t ignite spontaneously and have a wonderful self-cleaning function. The material can't be stained by the dust. When the wind blows, the dust goes away. In addition, the Water Cube also has an environmental function to collect and recycle rainwater. Rainwater that falls on the Water Cube’s roof will be collected into a central storage pool below the building.
After a major transformation after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Water Cube was turned into a large water amusement park and reopened to the public in August 2010. It is now a multi-functional center for sports, recreation and fitness.
The new water amusement park inside the Water Cube is the largest and the best of its kind in China, allowing a functional capacity of 6,000 people.
It is an ideal place for families with kids to escape the summer heat and have fun. It is equipped with many amusement facilities, such as wave machines, speed slides and aqualoops.
The water temperature is said to be controlled at 23°C(73°F) in summer and 30°C(86°F) in winter. Coffee shops, leisure centers and VIP boxes are also available inside the water park.
The theater covers an area of about 200 square meters and has 150 seats. It will play promotional films about the Olympics and some 3D films, which further enrich visitors’ experiences.
In late December 2018, the renovation of the Water Cube began, kicking off the magnificent transformation into the “ice cube”. The revamped Water Cube will be the venue for the curling competition.
At the same time, an underground ice rink will be added to serve the masses as a way to keep fit and to popularize curling. The renovation will be completed in July 2020.
Time: scheduled to take place from February 4th to 20th, 2022.
Venues and facilities: There are 25 venues in three clusters (one in Beijing, one in Yanqing, and one in Zhangjiakou) for the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Some important venues:
Come and Marvel at the Water Cube and Beijing's other ancient wonders with an Olympic Memories Tour. Feel free to tell us your interests and requirements, and we are glad to tailor-make a unique tour for you. You can look through our Beijing tours for some inspiration.