Beijing Olympic Sites: The Water Cube

Our Olympic tour didn’t end at the Bird’s Nest. Right beside it (as in walking distance) was the Water Cube, or the Beijing National Aquatics Center. Again, Chinese design rises to another level. We’re not talking about a boring cube, but something that was able to convey the sense of water and its fluidity.

According to Wikipedia, the Water Cube is covered with Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), which not only causes the bubble-like facade, but also allows light and heat penetration.

Too bad we weren’t able to see it at night, as it looks incredible in the evening, based on the pictures I’ve seen.

Similar to the Bird’s Nest, the theme of the building (in this case, bubbles or water), is echoed in many of the details, such as walls…..

……and the ceiling.

There are 2 main pools in the center (I didn’t notice if there were smaller pools hidden behind the main arena, for warming up): the diving pool….

……and the main pool. There was actually a local competition going on when we were there, so the seats were semi-filled with spectators (probably proud relatives).

An interesting fact from Wikipedia (and of course, please double check this): this swimming pool is reputed to be the “fastest” Olympic pool because it is deeper by 1.314 meters. Apparently the deeper the pool (up to a certain limit), the faster a swimmer can swim because deeper pools have less water disturbance (the extra depth dissipates the waves). This, and because of Speedo’s LZR Racer swim suit, could be a reason why so many world records were broken in the 2008 games.

Flags of the different participating countries in the Olympics were displayed all around the arena, so of course I looked for the Philippine flag.

Currently, the Water Cube not only hosts aquatic sporting events, but was also the site for a production of Swan Lake!