The blue-colored National Aquatics Center (NAC), nicknamed the "Water Cube" and located by Beijing's North Fourth Ring Road, was inaugurated and delivered for use on the morning of January 28, 2008.
It took over four years to construct the Olympic venue, which is a new landmark in Beijing.
The project's ETFE air cushion structures are the first of their kind to be used in China and the largest and most complicated membrane system in any single project in the world.
With the efforts of various participants, many scientific and technical difficulties were overcome. Among the achievements, nine important self-dependent innovations resolved world-class difficult topics related to the project's steel structures, membrane structures and inner layout, formulated related work procedures and technical regulations, and filled in the gap in China's field of architecture.
Also, the NAC is the only Olympic venue to be funded by donations from compatriots. It reflects the great unity of the Chinese at home and abroad to stage the Olympic Games through joint efforts.
Located on the southern part of the central area of the Olympic Green in Beijing, the NAC has a planned construction area of 6.95 hectares. Being adjacent to the central axis of the city, the NAC is situated on par with the National Stadium, at an equal distance to the axis.
The NAC's Games-time construction area is close to 80,000 square meters, containing 17,000 standard seats, including 6,000 permanent seats and 11,000 temporary ones. During the 2008 Olympic Games, it will produce 42 gold medals in swimming, diving and synchronized swimming.
After the Olympics, it will be converted into a multi-functional facility for sports, culture and recreation, featuring a "water setting" for members of society.
On January 31, the NAC will host its first Good Luck Beijing sport event -- the 2008 Swimming China Open.
Timeline of events for the National Aquatics Center (NAC):
-- In July 2003, the design project of the NAC is officially settled.
-- On December 24, 2003, the NAC breaks ground and begins earthworks.
-- In May 2005, the NAC's main concrete structure is completed.
-- In June 2005, installation of the steel structure begins in the NAC.
-- On April 10, 2006, the main structure of the NAC is topped off, and its steel structure is installed.
-- On June 16, 2006, the supportive structures of the NAC are removed.
-- On August 1, 2006, the first air cushion is installed on the NAC.
-- On December 26, 2006, the membrane structures are installed on the outside of the NAC.
-- In January 2007, the decoration and fit-up process begins in the NAC.
-- In March 2007, the municipal engineering works begin in the NAC.
-- In September 2007, the electro-mechanical equipment is installed in the NAC.
-- On January 28, 2008, the NAC is inaugurated and delivered for use.