China unveil high-tech Water Cube
BEIJING: China yesterday unveiled their multi-million-dollar National Aquatic Stadium, a blue bubble-wrapped structure known as the Water Cube, which will stage the swimming events at the Olympics.
The Beijing venue, covered by a membrane of tough Teflon-like plastic that resembles bubbling water, took four years to build and cost a reported US$200mil, largely financed by donations from Chinese living overseas.
It stands close to another Beijing Olympic icon, the National Stadium or Bird’s Nest, which is scheduled for completion in April or May.
“I am very moved and very proud,” said Li Aiqing, president of Beijing’s state-owned Asset Management Company which owns the Water Cube, at an inauguration ceremony. “This was a very ambitious project in terms of the construction technology, and a most difficult construction challenge.”
The eco-friendly structure’s translucent shell allows in natural sunlight, providing heat and light and cutting energy use by up to 30%, according to the Beijing Olympic organising committee.
The 17,000-seater venue will host swimming, diving, synchronised swimming and water polo during the Aug 8-24 Games. – AFP