Thursday, November 16, 2006


The official swimming facility of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, will span 7.8 acres, house five pools, and seat 17,000 spectators, yet it doesn’t contain a single steel cable, concrete column or structural beam. Instead its walls and ceilings are composed of a network of slender steel pipes linked together by 12,000 load-bearing nodes. These nodes evenly distribute the weight of the building, making it strong enough to withstand Beijing’s most severe earthquakes. A plastic Teflon-like foil—just eight one-thousandths of an inch thick—covers the entire structure like skin. It lets in more light and heat than glass does, helping to keep the pools warm and slashing energy costs by 30 percent. Construction wraps up this year with the official opening scheduled for the Summer Olympics.

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via popsci

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