The Beijing Water Cube is a nickname for the National Aquatics Center. It was the official site for the 2008 Olympic swimming competitions. And, it looks like a giant, blue cube in the periphery of the city. The Water Cube is an architectural feat that blends modern technology with traditional, Chinese culture. Now, it is open to the public and offers attractions similar to a waterpark. If you want to visit Beijing’s infamous Water Cube, here’s everything you need to know.
Interesting Facts About Water Cube
- It was built between 2003 and 2008, when it was completed for the Olympics.
- It’s 194 yards wide, 194 yards long, and 98 feet high.
- The Water Cube can be found in the Olympic Green by the National Stadium.
- The structure covers an area of 15.56 acres.
- The floor space stretches for 19.65 acres.
- The cube has four floors.
- The first floor of the building is for tourists.
- The second floor is the auditorium which has 6,000 fixed seats and 11,000 temporary seats.
- The third floor of the cube is only used for business and administrative purposes.
- The theme of the cube was designed around the Chinese belief that the Earth is square and Heaven is round.
- The cube was built as a collaboration between the Chinese and Australians.
- It is the first building in the world that was built using the ‘soap bubble theory.’
- The building is made with a polyhedral steel-frame structure.
- The Water Cube was constructed with a ethylene-tetrafluoroethylene copolymer membrane as its insulation. This membrane is made up of over 3,000 bubble-like cushions.
- During the 2008 Olympics, this structure was used for diving, swimming, and synchronized swimming competitions.
History Of The Water Cube
An international architectural competition was used to determine the Water Cube’s design. Out of ten proposals, the Water Cube was chosen in 2003. The construction was a group effort between China Construction Design International, China State Construction Engineering Corporation, PTW Architects, and Arup International Engineering Group.
After years of design and building, the Water Cube hosted the 2008 Olympics. During this time, there were 25 world records broken at the cube.
In July of 2009, the Water Cube was opened to the public on select days. It was used as the site of the Swan Lake performance as well. Also in 2009, the Water Cube was closed for renovations that would partially turn it into a water park. In 2010, the facilities were reopened to the public,featuring rides and entertainment.
Culture Of Water Cube
The Water Cube is surrounded by traditional, Chinese culture, as well as modern sporting culture. As it has changed over the years, here’s what there is to see and do at the Water Cube.
Take Photos: Architecturally, this building is impressive and beautiful. Make sure to visit both during the day and at night to get the best views. Photographers tend to gather in the evenings when the cube lights up.
The Water Park: The newest addition to the Water Cube is loved by visitors. Guests can find a Lazy River, Tornado Ride, Speedslide, Aqualoop, Ride House, Kid Pool, Wave pool, Bulletbowl, and Pipeline. Visitors come here from around the world to test out the slides and rides. Since it’s indoor, this park can be visited throughout the year.
The SPA Zone: The cube even has a spa. Treatments are state-of-the-art, making it a high-tech place to relax. After watching the kids all day in the pool, head to the spa for some much needed rest and relaxation.
The Water Drop Theater: This theater is located on the 4th floor and can hold an audience of 150 people. They usually show 3D films or HD laser movies here. It’s a great experience, especially for those traveling as a family.
Eat and Drink: There are restaurants and bars onsite so you won’t have to leave the cube when you get hungry. Many of the establishments are water-themed, making a meal just as entertaining as the water park.
The National Stadium (Bird’s Nest): The stadium, which looks similar to a bird’s nest, is located right near the Water Cube. It was also built to house the 2008 Olympics, and has since become a tourist attraction. It houses sporting events throughout the year, and at night, visitors come to watch it change colors.
The Olympic Green: This is the site where the Water Cube and the Bird’s Nest can be found. It’s worth a visit on its own as well. Visitors will also find the Olympic Forest Park, which has natural scenery and foliage. The area also features the Chinese Ethnic Culture Park, a museum, various sculptures, towers, and beautiful views.
Llama Temple: This Tibetan Buddhist temple is only three miles from the Water Cube. It’s an astonishing show of color and culture from Tibet. It also has one of the largest Buddha statues in the city. Participate in the culture by lighting a candle at the altar, or just roam around the grounds.
Beijing Dong Wu Silk Museum: This museum is just .7 miles from the Water Cube. Visitors will learn how silk is made and manufactured. Their staff will show off their silk and then offer items for purchase. Make sure to bargain before buying anything.
Tips For Visiting The Water Cube
- These attractions tend to be more crowded during summer when people are traveling more often.
- Bring sturdy walking shoes if you plan on exploring the entire Olympic Green.
- Be prepared to pay higher food prices when inside the water park.
- Keep a good eye on your children in the water park. There are lifeguards on duty but you should be extra careful as it gets crowded.
- Use the lockers to keep your belongings safe while enjoying the water park.
- Make sure to visit both at night and during the day if you want to get the best views and photos of the Water Cube.
- Consider checking out the business floor of the Water Cube. It often has memorabilia and information from the Olympics.