The Shanghai Oriental Sports Center (SOSC) just celebrated its opening for the 14th FINA World Swimming Championships from 16th to 31st July 2011. The sports complex was designed and built by architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp), who won the competitive bidding in 2008, and constructed it in under two and a half years. It consists of a hall stadium for several sports and cultural events, a natatorium (swimming hall), an outdoor swimming pool and a media centre. In keeping with a sustainable urban development policy, the SOSC was built on former industrial brownfield land along the Huangpu River. The individual venues are designed so that after the Swimming Championships, they can be used for a variety of other purposes. Water is the overarching theme of both the park and the architecture of the stadiums and the media centre. It is the connecting element between the buildings, which stand on raised platforms in specially constructed lakes. Thus the round stadiums have a curved lakeside shore round them, while the rectangular Natatorium has a straight lakeside shore. Design affinities and a shared formal idiom and use of materials give the three stadiums structural unity. The steel structures of broad arches with large-format triangular elements made of coated aluminium sheet form double-sided curved surfaces along the frame of the sub-structures, thus evoking sails in the wind.
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