State-of-the Art Design

A large turtle waving oversized flippers, a dolphin’s back, an airy dramatic space that suggests a wave: The London Aquatic Centre, built for the London Olympics, has been described as all of these. No matter which likeness you see, designers have envisioned this state-of-the-art venue to provide a powerful experience for the 2012 Summer Games. Here, we showcase this stunning facility and the details that make it stand out.


The London Aquatics Centre is located in Olympic Park, a newly created green space set on more than 2 square kilometers of land in East London that was once an industrial wasteland. Construction on the Aquatic Centre was completed in just over three years, and the design was inspired by the movement of water.

Event Central

The Aquatic Centre will host 192 Olympic events, including swimming, synchronized swimming, Paralympic swimming, modern pentathlon and diving. The facility includes three pools, a 50-meter competition pool, 50-meter warm-up pool and a 25-meter diving pool.

Design Details

Like its predecessor the Water Cube, the London Aquatic Centre is designed with an eye toward aquatics and the fluidity of water in motion, but it avoids cliché. Sulfur yellow, one of the official London 2012 brand colors, was used to accent the gray stain applied to the building to give it a consistent, weathered-finish look. Succumbing to using the blue associated with pools would have been too obvious, says the designer.

Flexible Design

Lighting is designed to allow Olympic events to be filmed in HD. Other features are meant to support more long-term use. The pool includes a traversable boom at one end that allows the pool length to be accurately set, and a submersible boom with a movable floor at the opposite end, to create a flexible space

Efficiency Expert

Systems for the warm-up pool (shown above), as well as the main competition and diving pools, were designed with efficiency in mind. Features such as variable-frequency drives are expected to save a considerable amount of energy, and the facility has received a Breeam Excellent rating, a design and assessment method for sustainable buildings.