London – We will remember the pool of the 2012 Olympic Games as the field of incredible performances. On Saturday, American swimmer Michael Phelps won his sixth medal since the beginning of the Games under the eyes of the 17,500 spectators allowed in the Aquatic Center designed by Anglo-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid. Thus, he broke the record of the greatest number of Olympic medals won by an athlete, previously held by Larissa Latynina since 1964, and stepped up on the Olympic podium for the twenty-second time since he has been participating in the Olympic games.
Zaha Hadid also holds several records, including being the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize and was chosen to build the Aquatic Center, which would give Great Britain the opportunity to host the World Aquatics Championships for the first time. Unveiled in 2008, her project had then encountered some doubts. Finally inaugurated in July 2011, the London Aquatic Center is probably one of the most modern in the world. The site consists in two pools of 50m2 (one for competition, the other one for warming-up), a diving pool of 25 m, and a warm-up area. The pool complex has been designed to accommodate the different disciplines: swimming, water polo, synchronized swimming and diving. The construction cost of the Centre has amounted 313 million euros (approximately $388 million).
The elongated structure of the Aquatic Center is characteristic of the architect: the stunning concrete building’s design is curved and sleek, with a powerful raw aspect. The concept designed by Zaha Hadid was inspired by the fluid geometry of water in motion and the corrugated roof evokes the shape of a wave. The construction is a formidable technical feat, the 2800 tons roof is based only on two concrete supports at the northern end of the site and a single wall at the south end. Visitors of the Olympic Park will not miss the beautiful center.
Concerned about the environment, Zaha Hadid’s project has planned the reduction of the amount of water used in the Aquatic by recycling it for the bathroom facilities on the site. Also note that the roof of the hall has been covered with 11,000 square meters of material in recycled aluminum.
At the end of the Games the aquatic center will be open to local clubs and schools, as well as to professional swimmers. Some modifications are to be executed: the two temporary wings will be suppressed, reducing the capacity from 17,500 seats to 2,500. However, it will still be possible to extend the capacity of the site in prevision of major competitions. The aquatic center will also provide a childcare facility, family changing rooms, a café, and a new plaza in front of the building. It is expected that the aquatic center replace the pools of Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, actual leader in water sports in the capital.
Archi & Design - Architecture
by Jil Billaudel | Tuesday, 07 August 2012