Seeing Beijing’s Olympic Pool

In preparation for the Olympic Games, a gigantic blue ‘plastic clad’ block, which looks like a giant block of sterile bubbles was under construction in Beijing.

The ‘Water Cube’ that was housed in the Beijing National Swimming Centre at an estimated price of $100 million, has the height of a 10-storey construction and was the biggest Olympic swimming facility ever constructed.

With a gross floor area of 80,000m2, it seated 17,000 individuals and housed two Olympic pools, a diving pool, leisure water creations such as water slides and a wave pool, together with their associated amenities.

This ambitious project was created by a group of Australian architects and engineers together with two Chinese associate businesses, and the outcome is a completely integrated concept from both an architectural and engineering standpoint.

Engineers from Arup and architects out of PTW Architects in Sydney, in conjunction with the China State Construction and Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) and the China Construction Design Institute (CCDI), develop a theory based on the natural form of water bubbles.

The engineers needed the significant purpose of clearly conveying to the architects exactly what the building needed to achieve when it comes to renewable energy, hydraulic, technical and environmental functionality, thus not seeing any structural timber beams but steel ones intead.

Quick prototyping has been used to physically mimic the intricate arrangement from CAD drawings and assorted CAD-driven situations were introduced to check the potency of the steel construction. A few 25,000 beam size factors and 57 million layout limitations were analysed for advantage.

PTW’s associate manager, Mark Butler, who had been the architect’s design leader for the job, says it was crucial that the architects and architects had an extremely close working relationship in creating the winning entry and subsequently bringing the project to fruition.

A whole team effort was demanded. In the first phases of design, architects out of the China partners worked with the Australian team in Sydney. In the idea/concept stage, they were searching for revolutionary ideas that could allow them to acquire worldwide recognition needed for the competition. The design required to be ‘Chinese’ in a contemporary manner and also to harmonise with the main stadium nearby.

The layout needed to be about water and also possess a green motif. Cross-fertilisation of thoughts was fundamental to this team’s capacity to break new architectural and engineering ideas. The goals of the project and the technology fundamentals were clearly presented at the beginning and then the pressure was on to achieve the agreed objectives.  Throughout the design process, it was especially important to work closely with all the engineers on the crucial innovative areas of the construction including the construction and façade, whether to include architectural timbers or not, and several challenging issues needed to be addressed like the production of their bubbles and fire technology and safety.

To ensure effective coordination, many 3D data models in multiple application formats had been exchanged between the layout partners during the whole design procedure. After the group had successfully finished the first strategy and won the contest, the job then improved to finish the plan documentation and development.

Over 80 Arup engineers and experts spread across 12 areas and four states were included in a variety of elements of the plan. The massive Water Cube is 177m in width, 177m (580ft) in length and 31m (101ft) in height, where the construction is produced of a community of steel tubular members clad with translucent ETFE (Ethyl Tetra Fluoro Ethylene) cushions.

A spread of fluoro polymer, ETFE is a powerful recyclable lightweight substance that allows in more light than glass but is more resistant to the weathering effects of the sun.

It took Beijing’s largest cranes to construct the exterior and interior of the project. The outer layer of the swimming center, which covers both the interior and outside of the construction, has 100,000m2 (1,076,000ft2) of ETFE bubble cladding which contains approximately 4,000 bubbles of different size.

The complex service construction of the Water Cube is made up of 22,000 steel tubes welded into 12,000 steel nodes that vary in size based on the loads put upon them. If placed end-to-end the steel beams would extend for 90 kilometres (56 miles).

A vital design factor has been the requirement to minimise the burden of the steel construction since the long roof spans self-weight is crucial as the roofing spends a whole lot of its durability simply holding up itself. Although lightweight, the Water Cube construction is extremely robust and adheres to the brand new Chinese steel/seismic design Codes.

To keep the aesthetic allure of the Water Cube layout, the roof installation needed to ensure that roof infiltrations are kept to a minimum during the extensive usage of air-admittance valves in the sanitary plumbing.

Since the Water Cube didn’t adhere to China’s prescriptive building Code it had been necessary to show that the design provided for a decent degree of security.

A Smart Construction

The alternative was to use performance-based fire technology to come up with a group of provisions specifically tailored to the construction, including irrigation and smoke exhaust systems.

This allowed the architects to design away from the Chinese Code while being encouraged by research and global guidelines. The group was also able to show that the ETFE facade substance would shrink away from a flame and would let the smoke out by self-venting.

A vital requirement for the construction is ecological sustainability, such as a quite significant energy-efficiency rating along with the capability to recycle at least 80 percent of its own water. The Water Cube is intended to work as a greenhouse to help treat Beijing’s intense climate that may swing out of -13°C (8.6°F) in winter to 36°C (96.8°F) in summer.

The transparent ETFE cladding assisted by slab scissors upon application, conserve energy prices by allowing a great deal of natural lighting into the Cube, with 90 percent of the solar power to be trapped and used to heat the pools and also the interior. Cladding heat loads are minimised in the summertime but maximized in winter by putting the warmth from the wall cavity in the summertime and comprising it in winter.

Swimming pools may cause condensation and rust problems, so successful air supply is vital. This may be addressed by finding nozzles around the outside of the construction to provide air up the walls. Within this smart construction, the ac process is targeted to stop clogs to regions that aren’t utilized by men and women. By way of instance, the place where audiences sit will be pumped individually by an under-seating distribution system which will only be triggered during occasions.

Heat rejection in the air conditioning may also be used to warm the pools. Other purification systems comprise heat recovery from chillers and out of ice making machines that are used for distance and pool water heating system.

Smart hydraulics

Commercial plumbing sees essential hydraulic design and pipes characteristics of the Water Cube comprise siphonic drainage for storm water, water-efficient fittings, and set of storm water to domestic hot water source, and greywater recycling.

Ken Ma, a senior partner in Arup at Sydney, maintains water in northern China is a precious commodity and Beijing now lacks a trusted water source to meet present and projected need requirements.

Swimming centers consume a great deal of water to sanitary purposes and concerning the pool filtration system backwash. Thus, central to the design philosophy which underpins the Water Cube is the core goal of water conservation.

More importantly, this implies the layout of water-efficient systems will minimise water consumption and increase recycling and reuse opportunities. The purpose is to lower the dependence on the state’s water distribution system and spread into the state sewage system, which in turn will lower the strain on nearby receiving waters.

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