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Travel Report: The Water Cube Beijing.

The Water Cube National Aquatics Center Beijing China

September 2018. There’s some fantastic architecture scattered around Beijing’s Olympic Green. One of the most distinctive buildings is the blue, bubble-adorned National Aquatics Center, better known as The Water Cube Beijing. This was the venue for the swimming and diving events of the 2008 Olympics. Today, it’s well worth a visit simply to see this amazing piece of architecture close up. Furthermore, there are a handful of cool attractions inside. I took this first shot of The Water Cube from atop The Bird’s Nest (National Stadium) as I made my way down the Air Corridor Skywalk.

Exterior The Water Cube National Aquatics Center Beijing

The National Aquatics Center, Beijing.

The Water Cube is even more impressive close up at ground level. The Australian firm PTW Architects designed it alongside the British Arup Group. They took their inspiration from the natural formation of soap bubbles. The project took a staggering $140 million to complete! I wonder if they knew what a historical building it would become, as The Water Cube saw 25 world records broken in the main swimming pool during the 2008 Olympics.

The Water Cube Beijing.

Happy Magic Water Park The Water Cube The Water Cube National Aquatics Center Beijing

The National Aquatics Center, Beijing.

These days The Water Cube’s main attraction is Happy Magic Water Park. There’s a wave pool, water slides, a lazy river and a hair-raising aqua loop. Entrance certainly doesn’t come cheap though, with tickets priced at 200RMB (£22/€25/$30). If you only want to swim lengths in the main pool it’s 60RMB (£4.80/€7.60/$8.80). Alternatively, like me, you can just people-watch for free from the ground floor viewing balcony.

Curling rink The Water Cube National Aquatics Center Beijing

Curling at The Water Cube.

There are big plans underway to transform The Water Cube into a curling venue for the 2022 Winter Olympics. As a result, I saw plenty of promotion about this as I wandered through the interior, with posters, videos and a few ice curling sheets on display.

Top floor art gallery The Water Cube National Aquatics Center Beijing

The top floor art gallery at The Water Cube.

You can also check out this art gallery on the top floor. Bizarrely, there was absolutely no information about any of the works on display. Nor indeed did the exhibition itself have any discernible name, other than the perfunctory Art Gallery sign by the elevators.

Inside The Water Cube National Aquatics Center Beijing

The Water Cube, Beijing.

The Water Cube is open daily from 09:00-19:00, with standard entry tickets priced at 30RMB (£3.40/€3.80/$4.40). Time your visit for 19:00-22:00 after closing and you can see the entire structure lit up in alternating colours.

The Water Cube by night Beijing.

The Water Cube by night.

Photo courtesy of Charlie Fong. 

For more on this amazing building, have a look at Travel China Guide’s page.

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For me the most impressive part of The Water Cube was the excellent Museum of the Moon exhibition set around the main Olympic pool.

Like this? Have a look at my other pieces from around Beijing’s Olympic Park, plus plenty more from across China’s capital.

Want to delve further afield? Have a leaf through my stacks of travel reports from all over China.

Or maybe check out my short story series Challenged In China!

I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001. So why not check out my huge library of travel reports from over 30 countries.

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  • Virginia

    Very beautiful design there . who would have thought soap bubbles would be an inspiration to someone’s creative mind to design the National Aquatics Centre. ..creativity at its best !

    October 4, 2018 - 2:41 am Reply
    • leightonliterature

      Yeah, I think I like this one just as much as The Bird’s Nest, even though they are very different designs. The next article on the Water Cube’s amazing Moon Museum is really something else though, the jewel in The Water Cube’s crown.

      October 4, 2018 - 3:15 pm Reply

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