Arup's Giant Foaming Chinese Puzzle Box

Summary

A box-shaped building, with a cellular wall and roof structure looking like a mass of blue bubbles, is to be built in Beijing to house the Olympic swimming and diving pools. The walls and roof have a cellular, foam-like structure, the cells consisting of closely packed dodecahedra ( 12 sides ) and tetrakaidecahedra ( 14 sides ), forming wall cavities of 3.5 m and a flat roof of 7 m thickness. The cells will be constructed from 24,000 steel tubes welded to 12,000 spherical steel nodes, the steel tubes varying in size according to their loading. The cell walls are formed from translucent sheets of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene. The structure has been designed to be earthquake proof, and its greenhouse-like design contributes to its heating by capturing 20% of the incident solar energy.

Primary author(s): Lane T

Source: Building

Vol.269, No.8324, 2004, p.66-68                           

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