A general view of the exterior of the National Aquatic Centre, also known as the Water Cube, lit up at night during the opening of the Good Luck Beijing 2008 Swimming China Open in Beijing, China, 31 January 2008. The National Aquatic Centre, located next to the National Stadium, is one of the main venues for the 2008 Olympics

The Water Cube was initially designed by PTW Architects , CSCEC International Design and Arup with structural Engineers Arup conceiving the structure. The structure was built by CSCEC (China State Construction Engineering Corporation). Comprising a steel space frame, it is the largest ETFE clad structure in the world with over 100,000 m² of ETFE pillows that are only eight one-thousandths of an inch in total thickness, The ETFE cladding allows more light and heat penetration than traditional glass, resulting in a 30% decrease in energy costs.The outer wall is based on the Weaire-Phelan structure, a foam (structure formed by soap bubbles).The pattern is formed by taking a slice through the foam, and it was chosen in preference to the Kelvin foam because the more complex Weaire-Phelan structure results in more irregular, organic patterns than slices through the regular Kelvin foam.The structure will have a capacity of 17,000during the games that will be reduced to 6,000 afterwards. It also has a total land surface of 65,000 square metres and will cover a total of 7.8 acres.

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