Watercube - National Acquatics Centre

Beijing / China / 2008

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Watercube - National Acquatics Centre [ITA] [ENG] [ITA] - “Siamo partiti dall’immagine delle bolle di sapone - afferma Wang Toby, direttore di PTW Beijing - non come riferimento formale, quanto come soluzione per suddividere uno spazio tridimensionale potenzialmente infinito in una struttura iterabile che non appaia come ripetizione di un pattern”. “La teoria di Wearie-Phelan – continua Wang Toby – ci ha permesso di combinare bolle di dimensioni uguali (ma di forma diversa) in una struttura organica e flessibile alle necessità del centro acquatico olimpico”. La struttura si presenta con un volume semplice, disegnato nella forma quadrata per creare un contesto armonioso insieme allo stadio circolare di Herzog & de Meuron. Una spettacolare dualità di forma geometriche all’interno del Beijing Olympic Green. “Il volume semplice - spiega Wang - nasce dalla volontà di creare un dialogo con lo stadio, senza entrare in competizione (lo stadio e 10 volte più grande della piscina), quanto cercando un rapporto dialettico che esalti le peculiarità dei due edifici simbolo delle Olimpiadi. Un’affascinante struttura reticolare tridimensionale sostiene le bolle, realizzate in ETFE (materiale plastico traslucido e resistente) che sono state assemblate prima di essere poste in opera e quindi gonfiate. Un sistema di controllo gestisce il pompaggio continuo delle bolle mantenendo la struttura. Sfruttando la doppia pelle trasparente l’edificio riduce la quantità di energia necessaria per mantenere costante la temperatura delle piscine. L’insolita geometria dell’intelaiatura consente, inoltre, di rispondere efficacemente ai requisiti antisismici imposti dalle particolari caratteristiche del luogo. Il progetto accoglie la principale piscina olimpica, il trampolino per le competizioni di tuffi (che si staglia dinnanzi alla vetrata principale della struttura ed offre una magnifica vista sul “bird nest” (tradotto in italiano “nido d’uccello”) di Herzog & de Meuron), la piscina per il riscaldamento degli atleti, uno spazio multifunzione, un futuristico lounge bar e 17000 posti a sedere di cui 11000 pensati come struttura rimovibile e riciclabile che lasceranno spazio, a manifestazione conclusa, ad uffici ed aree ristoro. Le sue pareti traslucide formano poligoni irregolari, che di giorno assumono una colorazione grigio azzurra come il cielo. Di notte, quando gli spazi interni sono illuminati, brillano come un caleidoscopio. “Ad un primo sguardo può sembrare che si tratti di un sistema naturale creatosi quasi fortuitamente; in realtà uno studio matematico rigoroso ha consentito l’effetto straniante delle bolle d’acqua”. “La trasparenza dell’acqua, insieme al misterioso effetto delle bolle, porta inevitabilmente coloro che si trovano sia all’esterno che all’interno della struttura a soffermarsi e riflettere sulla propria esperienza con l’acqua”. HAPPY MAGIC WATERCUBE, BEIJING, CHINA [ENG] Winner of World Waterpark Association’s “2010 Industry Innovation Award for Waterparks” THE CHALLENGE The prominence and uniqueness of the Beijing Water Cube dictated that the water park would have to be a world-class attraction. So with high aspirations and an extremely tight delivery time, the client gave Forrec free rein in setting interim deadlines and coordinating the design process — but was always available for consultation and approvals. A few decisions had already been made regarding some of the slide elements, so Forrec worked closely with the suppliers to weave these features into the design in a way that satisfied both the client's financial needs and the project's high aesthetic goals. An even larger design challenge was the fact that the volume had been designed, from the very first, to accommodate a water park and so, in the absence of expert design input, inalterable decisions had already been made regarding the location of some elements (the slide tower and the pool, e.g.). APPROACH Our creative approach was to develop an "ambience" that took its cue from the incredible interior volume of the building — its form, texture and overall feeling — expanding on its underlying mood to create a unique and memorable environment. Forrec‘s team of creative designers, architects and interior designers blended their expertise in water park design with their experience in themed environments to produce a scheme that is exciting and practical. Taking advantage of the height of the volume, as well as its floor space, attractions and thematic elements were woven into a continuous three-dimensional composition. To capitalize on the international interest in the architecture, and to ensure that the Happy Magic Watercube would re-open two years after the opening of the Olympic games, the schedule was kept extremely tight. The team designed the park and guided its construction all within 14 months. THE BIG IDEA With the exception of destination parks, water parks, and especially indoor water parks, are rarely "themed". But the Water Cube, offered an ideal opportunity to explore a narrative treatment. The distinctive cellular structure that formed the building's exterior was strongly suggestive of a watery environment and the way that daylight filtered through the translucent skin was reminiscent of sunlight filtered through water. So Forrec proposed the creation of an "underwater" world, using abstracted aquatic elements such as air bubbles, sea weed, coral and jelly fish — large colorful shapes and forms that "float" within the space, creating a dramatic, dynamic atmosphere — unusual and sophisticated enough to complement the architecture, but playful enough to create an exciting environment. The Happy Magic Watercube was also conceived as having two separate personalities. During the day, the building's translucent skin filters daylight to create the sensation of a sunlit tropical lagoon. At night, moody theatrical lighting creates an underwater fantasy that includes a light-show, visible from the outside. THE ELEMENTS Traditional indoor water parks maximize space by running portions of their water slides outside the main hall. But at the Water Cube, the thick and complex structural shell made this impossible. Forrec’s challenge was to confine all of the slides within the building envelope, without making them feel cramped or crowded. The solution was to carefully consider all three dimensions of the space — not just the plan — and to combine the attractions and thematic elements into one enormous, interwoven composition. Mezzanine levels have been introduced to improve the capacity of the water park by increasing floor area and by simplifying access to some of the slides. It also introduced new and exciting ways to experience and interact with the fantastic underwater world. Simple elements have been used to convey the underwater theme, working within and around the existing building forms. Column coverings suggest a coral reef, clear plastic balls appear as floating air bubbles and translucent stretched fabric panels are molded into jellyfish, seaweed, and soft coral. RESULTS Even before the opening of Happy Magic Watercube, there was a buzz in the water park industry — something new and exciting was about to happen. The buzz has now increased and the park has become our client's flagship project, firmly establishing and defining the brand. The Happy Magic Watercube concept, a high-quality themed water park, has expanded to water parks in Beijing and Nanjing and, with the help of Forrec there are plans to further expand the brand throughout China.
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    Watercube - National Acquatics Centre [ITA] [ENG] [ITA] - “Siamo partiti dall’immagine delle bolle di sapone - afferma Wang Toby, direttore di PTW Beijing - non come riferimento formale, quanto come soluzione per suddividere uno spazio tridimensionale potenzialmente infinito in una struttura iterabile che non appaia come ripetizione di un pattern”. “La teoria di Wearie-Phelan – continua Wang Toby – ci ha permesso di combinare bolle di dimensioni uguali (ma di forma diversa) in una struttura...

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