(, January 28) -- The construction of the National Aquatics Center, or the "Water Cube," topped off today. The "Water Cube" was built in accordance with a water-saving design concept to be a gigantic green architectural wonder.
The venue's membrane structure, covered by ETFE (Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene) air cushions, is not only the first of its kind in China and the world's largest and most complex ETFE project, but it is also an economical and water-saving creation.
The blue-colored "hubble-bubble" material is much lighter than conventional glazing structures with the same lighting effect. So the cost of its supporting steel structure was reduced considerably, said Zheng Fang, the top designer of the Chinese-side design company.
ETFE material made by a German company would have cost 400-500 Euros per square meter, but the same material manufactured through a joint venture was only 2,000 yuan per square meter. The conventional glass covering will cost about 500 to 600 Euro.
In addition, the "Water Cube" was designed with water-saving and environmental protection efforts. According to statistics, the outer surface and 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. And the venue can also save 140,000 tons of recycled water a year.
Other environmental design efforts covered an air-conditioning system, surface water exploitation and ventilation system.