‘Water Cube’ revamped for Beijing 2022

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China Water Cube renovation completed Image: MJR Group Ltd./Coliseum

China’s first venue for the Beijing Winter Olympic Games in 2022 is ready in the form of China’s National Aquatics Center – the ‘Water Cube’. Repurposing work of the Water Cube is through. It has been repurposed to host curling events as a 4,500-seat arena for Beijing 2022.

The Beijing National Aquatics Center, also officially known as the National Aquatics Center, and colloquially known as the Water Cube, is an aquatics center at the Olympic Green in Beijing, China. The facility was originally constructed to host the aquatics competitions at the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.

Built as the main natatorium for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, it soon went on to become one of the Games’ iconic structures. It will host the curling events at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The Water Cube was designed by PTW Architects and Ove Arup. Their unique and inspired design was based on the way soap bubbles come together in a 12 or 14-sided cell structure. The surface of these “soap bubbles reflect sunlight and make the building a water droplet glistening in the sunlight, and hence the nickname – ‘The Water Cube’.

The Water Cube is 177 meters square and 30 meters high.

The 2022 Winter Olympics, commonly known as Beijing 2022, is an international winter multisport event that is scheduled to take place from February 4th-20th, 2022, in Beijing and towns in the neighboring Hebei province, China.

The Beijing Major Projects Construction Headquarters Office said renovation work involved construction, waterproofing, membrane maintenance and other engineering work, over an area of about 50,000m2.

Media reports stated that one of the challenges faced while repurposing the Centre was building a convertible structure and setting up a detachable ice making system in the middle of the competition hall to form a curling field with four standard tracks.

After many rounds of tests, the plan of “water ice conversion” was successful, enabling conversion materials to be reused, and the transformation cost to be effectively reduced.

The venue has already launched “water ice conversion” for a second time and will be open to the public after ice production at the site is completed.

For the sustainable operation of the venue, the ‘Water Cube’ also uses the underground space of South Square to construct two pieces of ice.

One is a standard rink and the other is a curling venue. It will be open to the public as a curling experience base in the central area of Beijing’s Olympic Park.

A total of 25 competition and non-competition venues, located in Beijing, Yanqing and Zhangjiakou, will be used at the 2022 Games. The Beijing Competition Zone will be home to three Olympic winter sports, namely curling, ice hockey and skating.

It will feature 12 venues, including eight that remain as a legacy from Beijing 2008, three newly-built and one temporary.

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