Located on the west side of Landscape Avenue in the Olympic Green and to the west of Beijing National Stadium (Bird's Nest), the National Aquatics Center contains the official 2008 Olympics swimming facility. The construction started on December 24th, 2003 and was finished on January 1st, 2008. It measures 177 meters (194 yards) long, 177meters wide, and 30 meters (98 feet) high and covers an area of 62,950 sq meters (75,287 sq yard). It has four floors: one at street level, two above, and one below. Its floor space reaches 79,532 sq meters (95,119 sq yard), while the below street level area is no less than 15,000 sq meters (17,939 sq yard). The one below served as the service area during the Olympics. The first floor is for tourists. The auditorium is on the second floor with 6,000 fixed seats (2,000 of which are movable), and 11,000 temporary seats. The third floor is strictly for business. Along your Beijing tour package, you should never miss visiting the Water Cube.
The Water Cube design combines modern technologies with Chinese traditional values. In tradition, Chinese conceptualized a square Earth and a round Heaven, and this formed the design's central theme. Moreover, the cube shape dominates ancient urban buildings. The National Aquatics Center's design is of traditional style to meet all its functional requirements. The National Aquatics Center, designed by Chinese and Australian, is the first building in the world built upon "the soap bubble" theory, and sports a polyhedral steel-framed structure. Many China vacation deals of Beijing have included this site into their itinerary.
The ETFE (the ethylene-tetrafluoroethylene copolymer) membrane insulates the Water Cube. This advanced membrane structure is formed by 3,065 bubble-like pneumatic cushions of all sizes. The National Aquatics Center becomes the first large-scale public project coated with the membrane, and it also has set up a new world record for its massive deployment.
The National Aquatics Center looks like a huge blue box, from which it takes its nickname: the Water Cube. The Water Cube is blue in order to reflect sunlight. The National Aquatics Center shines in the sunlight like a pearl in water. From the inside of the National Aquatics Center, you may discover that the pneumatic cushions of all sizes are just like sea bubbles. No China travel service of Beijing is fantastic enough without visiting Water Cube.
Various high technology and green technology are present in the National Aquatics Center construction. Popular Science magazine chose it the Best of What’s New of 2006.
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