London’s Olympic Aquatics Centre
With exactly a year to go until the opening ceremony, the 2012 London Olympic committee has proudly unveiled the Aquatics Centre – the last of its six super-spaces for the games.
Three years and the uncovering of four prehistoric skeletons later, the Zaha Hadid-designed, marine-inspired space covers 22,000 sq m, and is second only in size to the main Olympic stadium. It will have a capacity of 17,500 during the games when it plays host to a total of three pools for swimming, diving and synchronised swimming.
The most striking design feature of the centre – which organisers are hailing as “the Gateway to the Games” – is a 160m-long undulating roof. Construction firm Balfour Beatty has been responsible for the build of the innovative 3,000 tonne steel and aluminium roof, which includes recycled materials – essential for an Olympics event that is being touted by organisers as one of the greenest yet.
Although impressive, the full extent of the design cannot be fully appreciated until after the Games, when the two steel extensions of decks and seating built to accommodate the extra volume of spectators will be taken down.