National Swimming Centre, Beijing, People?s Republic of China.
Project Description :
The Watercube associates water as a structural and conceptual ?leitmotiv? with the square, the primal shape of the house in Chinese transition and mythology. Conceptually the square box and the interior spaces are carved out of an unconfined cluster of foam bubbles, symbolizing a condition of nature that is transformed into a condition of culture. The appearance of the aquatic centre is therefore a ?cube of water bubbles?. As a cube is dropped into water, drops scatter and ripples spread away. Together these elements form the landscape?s water management system, with the building surrounded by ponds and a lineal moat at the perimeter. The Chinese philosophies of the square representing Earth and circles representing the heavens became a very important force. The square plan of the Watercube draws on traditional Chinese forms to establish a Yin and Yang relationship with the circular form of the National Stadium, by Herzog & de Meuron, situated opposite on the main Olympic Green axis. As a counterpart to the red, energy-giving, masculine, totemic image of the National Stadium, the blue Watercube appears as serene, emotion-engaging, ethereal and poetic, with changing moods that directly respond to people, events and changing seasons, creating a duality between fire and water, male and female, with all the associated tensions/attractions. The structure of the Watercube is derived from the structure of water bubbles in the state of aggregation found in foam, and is based on a unique lightweight construction, developed by PTW and CCDI with ARUP. Behind the totally random appearance hides a strict geometry that can be found in natural systems like crystals, cells and molecular structures ? the most efficient subdivision of 3-dimensional space with equally sized cells. The transparency and apparent randomness is also transposed into the inner and outer skins of ETFE* cushions. Unlike traditional stadium structures, the architectural space, structure and fa?ade of the Watercube are one and the same element. The Watercube aesthetic reflects a form of water, responsive to its physical and urban setting, bringing to the residents of landlocked Beijing the happiness, joy and fantasies associated with water. Demonstrating principles of traditional Chinese architecture and embodying latest technologies and materiality, this cross-fertilisation of ideas between cultures and architectural and engineering disciplines creates a building that is visually striking, energy efficient, and ecologically friendly.
PTW Architects has a rich legacy of significant, enduring projects since the practice’s commencement in 1889.
With the geographic advantage of interaction and experience between offices in Sydney, Beijing, Shanghai, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, PTW’s 200 talented architects and designers work collaboratively and cross-culturally in dynamic, multi-lingual teams of capability and expertise across a diverse range of project types in Architecture, Interior Design, Urban Design, Masterplanning and Infrastructure.
PTW Architects' architectural achievement has been recognised repeatedly throughout its history. In 1930, the firm won the inaugural Sulman medal (the highest honour awarded by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects) for Science House, Sydney. It won this award again in 1952 for the Royal Swedish Legation, Canberra. Our recent awards are listed below:
Good Design Awards, Good Design Selection in Architectural Design Category – The Calyx
Property Council of Australia / Rider Levett Bucknall Innovation and Excellence Award, Best Mixed Use Development – Pacific Bondi Beach
UDIA Excellence in Mixed-Use Development - Discovery Point
UDIA Excellence in High-Density Development - Alexander, Barangaroo South
Urban Taskforce Development Excellence Awards, Development of the Year – Pacific Bondi Beach
Urban Taskforce Development Excellence Awards, Mixed Uses Development – Mascot Central
Urban Taskforce Development Excellence Awards, Medium Rise – City Apartments Development – Alexander, Baranagaroo South