London 2012 Aquatics Centre


The architectural concept of the London Aquatic Centre is inspired by the fluid geometry of water in motion, creating spaces and a surrounding environment in sympathy with the river landscape of the Olympic Park. An undulating roof sweeps up from the ground as a wave – enclosing the pools of the Centre with its unifying gesture of fluidity, whilst also describing the volume of the swimming and diving pools. The London Aquatic Centre is designed to have the flexibility to accommodate the size and capacity of the London 2012 Olympic Games whilst also providing the optimum size and capacity for use in Legacy mode after the 2012 Games.

The London Aquatic Centre is situated within the Olympic Park Masterplan. The site is positioned on the south eastern edge of the Olympic Park with direct proximities to Stratford. The new pedestrian access from the east-west bridge called the Stratford City Bridge which links the Stratford City development with the Olympic Park will cross over the LAC. This will provide a very visible frontage for the LAC along the bridge. Several smaller pedestrian bridges will connect the site to the Olympic Park over the existing canal. The Aquatic Centre addresses within its design the main public realm spaces implicit within the Olympic Park and Stratford City planning. These are primarily the east-west connection of the Stratford City Bridge and continuation of the Olympic Park space alongside the canal.

The Aquatic Centre is planned on an orthogonal axis perpendicular to the Stratford City Bridge. Along this axis are laid out the three pools. The training pool is located under the bridge whilst the competition and diving pools are within a large volumetric pool hall. The overall strategy is to frame the base of the pool hall as a podium by surrounding it and connecting it into the bridge. This podium element allows for the containment of a variety of differentiated and cellular programmatic elements into a single architectural volume which is seen to be completely assimilated with the bridge and the landscape. From the bridge level the podium emerges from underneath the bridge to cascades around the pool hall to the lower level of the canal side level.

The pool hall is expressed above the podium level by a large roof which is arching along the same axis as the pools. Its form is generated by the sightlines for the spectators during the Olympic mode. Double-curvature geometry has been used to create a structure of parabolic arches that create the unique characteristics of the roof. The roof undulates to differentiate an internal visual separation inside the pool hall between the competition pool volume and the diving pool volume. The roof projects beyond the base legacy pool hall envelope to extend the roof covering to the external areas of the cascades and the bridge entrance. The roof projection over the bridge entrance announces the London Aquatic Centre’s presence from the approach from either Stratford City or the Olympic Park. Structurally the roof is grounded at 3 primary positions. Otherwise the opening between the roof and the podium is in-filled with a glass façade.

Here is some information from the Olympic Delivery Authority:


With exactly a year to go until the start of the London 2012 Games, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has announced that the Aquatics Centre is now complete, the last of the six main Olympic Park venues to finish construction.

The Olympic Stadium, Velodrome, Handball Arena, Basketball Arena and the International Broadcast Centre were all completed earlier this year.

The Aquatics Centre is being unveiled with British Olympic hopeful Tom Daley making the first dive into the pool.

Back in July 2006, the ODA set out a challenging brief to clean and clear the Olympic Park site and build the new venues and infrastructure needed in time for test events by the summer of 2011 – a year before the Games. This has now been achieved on time, to budget, with a safety record far better than the industry average, and by setting new standards in sustainability and accessible design.

Double Commonwealth Gold medallist and 2012 hopeful Tom Daley said: ‘Marking the 1 year to go, by diving in the Aquatics Centre is an incredible honour. Only a few years ago, this was a distant dream. The fact that I qualified at the weekend and am taking the first dive is a complete privilege. I can’t wait for next year and the honour of representing Team GB.’

ODA Chairman John Armitt said: ‘The Aquatics Centre will be a fantastic gateway to the Games in 2012 and a much-needed new community and elite sporting venue for the capital afterwards. Five years ago, in July 2006, we published a delivery timetable which set out the ambitious target to complete the main venues a year before the Games. Today, with the completion of the sixth main permanent venue, I am proud to say that we have delivered on that commitment.

‘The completion of the Aquatics Centre is the latest chapter in a British success story where tens of thousands of workers and business from across the UK have demonstrated the ability of this country to successfully deliver major projects.’

LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe said: ‘With construction now complete on the Aquatics Centre, we are another step closer to the spectacular Olympic Park which will be host to world class sport in 2012. And after the Games, the venue will become a much-needed swimming facility for London with community use at its heart, epitomising the spirit of London’s bid – a Games which would bring lasting change and encourage people to choose sport. Everyone involved can be very proud of this venue and the progress of the Olympic Park as a whole. I congratulate the ODA and their teams who have done a fantastic job.’

Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt said: ‘The build project for London 2012 has been a huge success for the British construction industry, public sector and UK plc as a whole. The completion of the Aquatics Centre is the final permanent world-class sport venue to be finished on the Park and a proud moment for the ODA. All those that have worked on the Olympic Park deserve huge credit for what they have achieved. The venues are stunning and the stage is now set for us to put on the greatest sporting show on earth.’

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: ‘It’s fantastic to add the beautiful Aquatics Centre to London’s list of first class venues which are already set to welcome the world’s greatest sportsmen and women. To have all six permanent venues complete with a year still to go to the Games is a great achievement, and a firm sign that we are well on track to deliver a truly spectacular show in 2012. Congratulations to the ODA and all those who have worked on the construction of the Olympic Park for reaching this milestone.’

Andrew Altman, Chief Executive of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, said: ‘The Aquatics Centre will be a unique facility in London that puts sport at the heart of regeneration. As a focal point for community, national and international swimming, it will sit at the centre of the south plaza – London’s newest public space which will welcome visitors to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park after the Games.’

Construction started on the Zaha Hadid-designed Aquatics Centre just over three years ago in June 2008 and has been completed on time and with an exemplary safety record. Over 3630 people have worked on the construction of the venue and over 370 UK businesses have won contracts including the steel for the roof from Wales, pool lights from Scotland, pumps from Bedfordshire, under-floor heating by a company from Newcastle-upon-Tyne and water testing done by a Flintshire-based business.

In total, over 40,000 people have worked on the Park since April 2008 and over 1500 direct contracts worth £6bn have been distributed to thousands of companies across the UK.




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