London 2012 Aquatics Centre starts to take shape

By Richard High15 December 2008

The latest images from the London 2012 Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) show the Zaha Hadid-designed

The latest images from the London 2012 Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) show the Zaha Hadid-designed Aquatics Centre starting to take shape. Work, which started two months ahead of schedule, is now co

The latest images from the London 2012 Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) show the Zaha Hadid-designed Aquatics Centre starting to take shape.

Work, which started two months ahead of schedule, is now complete on the southern roof support for the 160 m-long wave shaped roof of the centre that will mark the gateway to the Olympic Park during the 2012 Games. The southern roof support is 9m high, 28m long, over 5 m wide and used 850m³ of concrete

Work on the two northern roof supports for the 2800 tonne steel roof has started. Construction of the sweeping roof is expected to start in nearly 2009. The roof, which is 160 m long and 80 m at its widest point, features a "striking and robust" aluminium covering resting on three supports. It will be internally and externally clad with timber.

In legacy the Aquatics Centre will provide elite and community facilities that London does not currently have. The pools have been excavated and three quarters of the foundations are complete, with about 1000 concrete piles driven to a maximum depth of 25 m.

The concrete foundations are also being built for the supports of the huge land bridge that will form the roof of the 50 m training pools and the main pedestrian access to the Olympic Park in Games and legacy.

Aquatics Centre factfile:

  • The Zaha Hadid designed Aquatics Centre is located in the south of the Olympic Park and will be the main ‘Gateway into the Games', hosting swimming, diving, synchronised swimming, water polo finals and the swimming discipline of the Modern Pentathlon
  • The Aquatics Centre will have a capacity of 17500 during the Games. This will be reduced to a maximum of 2500 in legacy, with the ability to add 1000 for major events. It will house two 50 m-long swimming pools, a diving pool and dry diving area.
  • Eleven industrial buildings have been demolished on the 55000 m2 site.
  • Around 160000 tonnes of soil have been excavated on of what was one of the more challenging and complex areas of the Olympic Park, which was contaminated with pollutants including petrol, oil, tar, solvents and heavy metals such as arsenic and lead
  • Four skeletons were discovered and removed from a prehistoric settlement discovered on the site of the Aquatic Centre.
  • 140000 tonnes of clean soil has been brought from other areas of the Olympic Park to prepare for construction to start.
  • Planning permission has been achieved and Balfour Beatty is building the Aquatics Centre and huge land-bridge that forms the roof of the training pool and the main pedestrian access to the Olympic Park. Construction work will be complete in 2011 for test events ahead of the Games.
  • The river that runs alongside the venue has been widened by 8 m by building 550 m of new river walls.
  • A 3000 tonne concrete ‘bridge' has been built spanning and protecting the tunnels, which have been excavated to run power lines beneath the site. The northwest roof support will be built on top of this base.
  • The steel frame is in place for the northeast roof support, with a 4 m high concrete podium already poured.
  • Construction of the London 2012 venues and infrastructure is funded by the National Lottery through the UK's Olympic Lottery Distributor, The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Mayor of London and the London Development Agency.
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