Travel Report: The Water Cube Beijing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For more on this amazing building, have a look at The Water Cube’s official website.
For me the most impressive part of The Water Cube was the excellent Museum of the Moon exhibition set around the main Olympic pool.
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