Watercube Beijing

Watercube Beijing

PTW Architects

Beijing, China
Plans directeurs
Histoires par



National Aquatics Center (Water Cube)

ARUP en tant que Ingénieurs.

The Water Cube’s breathtaking architecture is matched by engineering innovations in fabrication, materials and environmental management. - Dr Geoff Robinson, Chairman, MacRobert Award judging panel.

The Water Cube acts like a greenhouse thanks to the blue bubble ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) material façade. Its translucent quality allows natural daylight to penetrate the building interior, and acts as an insulator to passively heat the building and pool water. This sustainable concept reduced energy consumption by 30% – the equivalent to covering the entire roof in photovoltaic panels.

Arup used a revolutionary virtual prototyping programme to create a model with associated data that could be accessed by the entire design team. For the first time a truly multi-disciplinary integrated design was achieved, streamlining the design process to increase effectiveness without increasing costs.

The National Aquatics Center (Water Cube) is located in the Olympic Green, the focal point of the 2008 Beijing Games. The blue bubble rectangular structure has a gross floor area of 70,000m2, and houses five swimming pools, a wave machine, rides, a restaurant, and 17,000 spectator seats.

Arup developed a computer programme to carry out structural analysis, optimisation and design of the building. The automated programme allowed many design options to be considered quickly and accurately. We used this to determine the minimum size of each of the 22,000 steel members in the structure; and during the optimisation phase we tested the 22,000 steel members and 12,000 nodes under 190 different load cases to determine optimal strength and weight.

Aside from it’s sustainable benefits, the ETFE façade is also self-cleaning, and incredibly robust – even though it only weighs 1% of an equivalent sized glass pane.

However, this façade and soap bubble design was only accepted by the local fire authority because of Arup’s performance-based fire engineering. We proved that the ETFE material – which is highly combustible – in its soap bubble form would actually shrink away from the fire. This design was self-venting, allowing smoke to billow out of the building. Additionally, we designed a fire strategy using advanced computer modelling of smoke and people movements that would protect and afford occupants enough time to leave the building using the same routes as entering.

Arup’s acoustic consultants also considered the comfort and safety of occupant. We designed an internal environment where the sounds of enraptured crowds are rich and vibrant without drowning out commentary and public announcements; crucial in moments of evacuation.

Selected awards

Royal Institute of British Architects International Award, 2009

MacRobert Award, 2009

Tien Yow Jeme Civil Engineering Award, 2009

Beijing Water Cube

nora en tant que Fabricants.

Material: noraplan rubber floorcoverings Event: Olympic Games 2008


Roca en tant que Bathrooms.

Exceptionally modern and color-changing, Roca conceived the spaces of the National Aquatics Center as a golden opportunity to leave its mark in the unique architecture of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. 

Thus, the bathroom spaces surrendered to the original shapes of the vitreous china collections such as Khroma and Hall as well as to the Oslo compact WCs or the Euret urinals. All of this without forgetting the commitment to energy efficiency by installing the Loft-E faucets, activated by a presence sensor.

Why they trusted Roca
The perfect combination of design, resistance and efficiency was the key to face not only one of the world’s most important events, but also its celebration in one of the planet’s most populated countries. The selected collections and sanitary appliances provide the outstanding durability and hygiene of Roca’s vitreous china while the Loft-E basin faucets, only activated by the presence of a human being, avoid the unnecessary waste of water in a place destined to receive millions of visits. 
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FabricantsVector Foiltec
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by Roca
by nora
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