Just in time for the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, the official grand opening of the Olympic Aquatic Centre took place this past Monday in celebration of its unique architecture and eco-friendly characteristics.
The building, four years in the making, is nicknamed the “Water Cube” and is a rectangular-shaped steel design covered by a membrane of brightly lit blue bubbles. Not only are these stunning to look at, but they also serve an important purpose in reducing energy costs by 30%. The membrane is made out of a material called ETFE, (Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene) which absorbs solar radiation and reduces thermal loss. Very similar, I suppose, to the way a solar cover works on a pool.
Not only is ETFE recyclable, but it’s also very strong; capable of bearing up to 400 times its own weight. Gizmag fills us in on additional details,
The building has outdoor and indoor air recycling systems, solar energy and double-deck ventilation devices. The air-conditioning system uses recycled hot water and the designers engineered the airflow in the Water Cube to ensure that the ventilation in the upper regions of the building was optimized.
To help keep humidity at 50-60%, air ventilation systems at the lower end of the roof and in the façade of the building shell were also installed. Also, the pool’s depth is 13 meters, which helps to reduce the interference of water temperature variation.
The membrane also captures thousands of gallons of rain water for use in additional environmental projects. The lifetime of the material is expected to be about 50 years.
For some gorgeous photos and videos, head on over to the official site. We look forward to catching more glimpses of this incredible building during the Olympics!