In Progress: Aquatic Center / Zaha Hadid

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The 160m long wave shaped roof frame for Zaha Hadid’s has just been lifted and lowered into place, marking one of the most complex engineering and construction challenges of the Olympic Park for the 2012 games.   Weighing in at over 3,000 tons, the gigantic steel trusses rest on a mere three concrete supports to provide open space for the facility’s large racing and diving pools.  The roof is also designed to stretch, twist and contract in response to the effects of snow, wind and changing temperatures.

More about the construction and a video to follow.

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Fabricated in Newport from plate rolled in Gateshead, Motherwell and Scunthorpe, the steel framing was assembled on site and connected 20m off the ground on temporary supports.   The completed roof frame was then carefully lowered into its permanent position and the temporary supports were removed in phases to enable work to continue beneath the roof, namely, the excavation for the venue’s two 50 meter swimming pools and 25 meter diving pool.

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The Aquatic Center is right on schedule to be finished in the summer of 2011.  In a few months, work will begin on the aluminium roof covering.   After the aluminium, the 12,000 sq m ceiling will be clad in Red Lauro timber, a sustainable sources that will combine the required level of durability and visual impact.

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As seen on World Architecture News.

Cite: Cilento, Karen. "In Progress: Aquatic Center / Zaha Hadid" 23 Nov 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <>
  • dah

    C’mon Zaha, stop burning money on expensive geometries and get over the curve!

    • ori

      would you say to frank louid wright to get over
      the hurizental? avry architect with his or hers
      style or you rahter live in a comuinest country
      somwere? were avryboudy does the same thing?

      • WiBu

        The difference is efficiency in the use of materials. This roof is just superfluous.

      • oricantspell

        wesh u cuold spel

  • Nicolas

    Sustainability anyone?

  • teo

    “the 12,000 sq m ceiling will be clad in Red Lauro timber, a sustainable sources that will combine the required level of durability and visual impact”

    Timber? 12000 sq m? Sustainable? This is mad….please stop her! This will also change the color and texture of the render.

    And the last photo, with the box shaped end is nowhere to be found in the animation…two different things

  • Andrew Geber

    this is what we love her for
    stop agonizing over sustainability

    its not her fault that a couple of tribes are chopping down mile after mile year after year and then move on

    • lanois

      ha – thats right. its London towns inherant sustainable building code. she just works around it. wonder how all that moisture will affect the wood?

  • ethem

    the boxy shape on the side in the last image is the result of extra seats installed for increasing the capacity temporarily. after the olympics it will be taken apart and the building will be how it looks like in the first image.

    • teo

      thank you

  • v

    actually wood is a sustainable material,

    olympic parks are suppose to be exaggerations this fits well

    • lanois

      With all due respect. Please learn how to properly construct a sentance prior to posting.

      Actually, wood is a sustainable material. (PERIOD)
      Olympic parks are supposed (proper tense) to be exagerations. (SPELLING and PERIOD) This fits well. (PERIOD)

      next define what fits well.

      Given the presentations I have seen, I might suggest that this does not fit into anything but its own made up context. Do you mean it defines your made up definition of an olympic park? Is this an exageration of a water wave? Is that a contrived means to generate form? I think I just heard another tree fall. Is okay, it will grow back.

      • phi


        sorry, had to do it

      • xavier


        Is okay, it will grow back.

        It´s okay

        next define what fits well.
        next, define what fits well

      • Dustin

        Example, Next, Olympic notice Capitals.

      • Lh

        Ianois, this is an architecture site not a damn spelling site. Perhaps English isn’t his/her first language. Either way, shut your face you boring, boring person.

      • v

        grammar nazi, fail.

  • steve

    actually, wood is sustainable depending on the species and where and how it is extracted for human use…

  • steve

    im sure you can pump a good amount of pressure treatment into the wood! now that, is sustainable!

  • bill

    Her projects are so boring all the time.

  • jr

    recession anyone?

  • Laura C. Bielecki

    I think this piece of architecture is beautiful and will be very well taken in the 2012 London games. Letting the light in will create a very dramatic interior, but I hope a great shading system was also incorporated into the design!
    Kudos Ms.Hadid… I have always admired your work!

  • aufi

    whats done is done, no point arguing here, unless there is another architect proposing a better design scheme that actually appease the client before. whatsmore this could be another new landmark to the city of london

    • aby

      i also join with aufi. unless a better direction is shown she wins the crown

  • dekaha

    don’t be jealous with her genius. zaha is great architect.

  • Alia

    I find it an amazing project !!!
    With a clear concept, and a great approach to the design.
    Although the boxy shape attached to the building looks odd. But since its temporary i’m ok with it :D
    I don’t agree with whoever said its a waist of money and time. i think this piece of art will add a lot to the city of London.

  • Malgorzata Boguslaw

    From the top it looks like a giant ugly insect.
    It looks much better from a level of standing man.

  • Mariam

    The design of course cost a fortune and made the construction harder !

    I agree with those who said that its going to add alot to city of London but what about sustainability !

    Zaha is known by her complex designs ! but i think its time for us to think GREEN ! i think as architects our ideas should be directed to a better perspective !

  • alex

    you’re aware that video shows the old version of the aquatics centre? Look at the pictures – the two designs are completely different!

  • helen

    this just seems lazy… it is neither complex ( ohh a complex curve?? wooo!!.. NOT) nor sustainable (o the poor trees. id rather be a christmas tree sitting in someone’s living room weighed down with red balls) ..

  • sam

    a) it’s zaha. what were you expecting?
    b) it’s zaha. she’s british. she’s famous-ish. they needed some signature buildings and slapping her name on this one makes the olympics looks all the more patriotic and progressive.
    c) it’s zaha. her thing isn’t hyper-sustainability. her thing is form and gesture. sure, it’s a bit literal. but she knows what she’s doing.
    d) stop flipping out about sustainability. they did what they could with the building and just because it she doesn’t put on a song-and-dance routine about all the sustainable features doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty implemented. besides, sustainability is just an emptier and emptier buzzword. it’s a reality to be dealt with, just the way ADA requirements were back when they were introduced.

  • lckm4

    curve is beautiful, but expensive~~

  • AC

    Yeah F*** the homogeneity of the modernist movement! Celebrate difference – celebrate difference and reject equality. Let’s belong to unique communities!

  • John Avlakiotis


  • ethem

    sometimes architectue is “not” about sustainability. although i hate to admit it sometimes it is a tool to show off about your technology,advancements and economic power etc. (ever heard of the “ski” resort in “Dubai”!

    world expos and fairs, cities which are centers of economy and esp olympics are perfect places for goverments to show off.

    once it was the “palaces” of the kings where all the manpower and money was consumed away, energy spent greedily.

    eiffel tower was not build to look out for fire, it was build to show off! now people love it, esp parisiens.

    sustainable design is what i like indeed and i don’t want to seem like advocating Zaha’s design principles. But she does know what’s wanted from her and she and her team do their job pretty damn good.

    this building btw, is a pretty stunning show off!

  • xmmot

    sometimes it´s just to easy for this big players. they invest once in R&D and than scale it 1:100:
    is not it the thing in innsbruck-austria shaped like that- what was it, meldted eis/snow??

    damn- i am getting bored

  • Juan Gomez-Velez

    Just for the record, is anyone familiar with the Bob Hope Residence by John Lautner. The similarity between the canopies is striking. A pity that Lautner was derided for it when built in the sixties.

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  • Barry Hill

    I assume the additional seating areas were added to the design at a later date, would have been interesting to see if the design was approved with these additional areas in the original scheme.

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