The innovative design concept of Water Cube successfully addressed four key concerns for the Beijing games; namely economic, social, environmental and natural resources issues. Central to the design of Water Cube philosophy is the core objective of water conservation. Water in Northern China is a valuable commodity, and the outer membrane has self-cleaning and water collection properties. The roof facade can collect 10,000 tons of rain water, 70,000 tons of clean water and 60,000 tons of swimming pool water annually. The Water Cube uses solar energy to heat the pools and the interior area, and all backwash water is filtered and returned to the swimming pools, saving another 140,000 tons in recycled water a year. The light-weight cladding allowed for a lighter internal structure, using far less steel than a conventional, glass-clad structure, a significant saving. Ground was broken on December 24, 2003, and the Center was completed and handed over for use on January 28, 2008.
The Water Cube had a capacity of 17,000 during the games; reduced to 6,000 for post-Olympics use. Taking up a total land surface of 65,000 square meters, it covers a total of 32,000 square meters (7.9 acres). Although called the Water Cube, the aquatic center is really a cuboid - 178 meters (584 feet) square and 31 meters (102 feet) high, a big box of beautiful bubbles.
After the closing of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Water Cube (the National Swimming Center) has been transformed to an advanced world-class center of swimming, fitness and relaxation. It is the largest water park in Beijing offering various recreational water activities for people of all ages. Today, it has leisure Water World, the fashion Heath Zone, hydrotherapy SPA, themed restaurants and bars related to water, such as hubble-bubble bar, overwater cybercafé, pottery bar, book bar, etc. and a business area with diversified commodities of the Water Cube, the history of Water Cube and the swimming competitions of Olympic, and the latest information about fashion, relaxation and entertainment concerning water.
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