Thursday, June 12, 2008
Water Cube : Swimming in bubbles
One of the wonders of modern architecture is part of the huge buildings that comprise the venues for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Water Cube (nicknamed like that after it's intriguing façade) is the National Aquatics Centre and will host the swimming and diving competitions for this summer's Games. After the Olympics, it will become, in addition to an aquatic competition venue, a multi-functional facility for sports, culture and recreation, featuring a "water setting" for people of Beijing.
Designed by PTW (Peddle, Thorpe & Walker), CCDI (China State Construction Design International) and Arup, the Water Cube connects water as a structural and conceptual "leitmotiv" with the square, the primal shape of the house in Chinese tradition and mythology. Together with the main Bird's Nest stadium by Herzog & de Meuron, a duality between fire and water, Yin and Yang, is being created with all its associated tensions and attractions.
Behind the totally random appearance hides a strict geometry that can be found in natural systems like crystals, cells and molecular structures - the most efficient subdivision of three-dimensional space with equally sized cells.
The transparency and apparent randomness is equally transposed into the inner and outer building-skins, made of inflated ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) cushions.
The project was recognized at the Venice Architecture Biennale for "demonstrating in a stunning way, how the deliberate morphing of molecular science, architecture and phenomenology can create an airy and misty atmosphere for a personal experience of water leisure.”
Check the 2Modern Design Blog for my article on the Water Cube for more details.