National Aquatics Center (Water Cube)

The National Aquatics Center in Beijing – (Also called as Water Cube) is where the official 2008 Olympics swimming facility is located and it is located near other Olympic sites such as Olympic Green and National Stadium. It was built from December 23, 2003 to January 1, 2008. It covers a total area of 6.3 hectares or 15.56 acres with 177 meters length and 30 meters height.

The Center is composed of four floors which include one at street level, one below, and two above. Its floor spaces totaled 7.95 hectares and its below street level is no less than 1.5 hectares. The Water Cube’s underground level functioned as the service area when the Olympics was held in the country. Its first floor is the area for the visitors and tourists while the second floor is where the auditorium is located. It has a capacity of 6,000 fixed seats and 11,000 temporary seats. Lastly, the Center’s third floor is reserved strictly for official business.


Water Cube Design Concept

The design idea of the National Aquatics Center combines the Chinese traditional values with the high-tech modern technologies. It is China’s ancient tradition to conceptualize Earth as square and Heaven as round. It is then used as the building’s central design theme. In addition, the cube shape is very popular in ancient urban buildings. The Center’s design is indeed of traditional style in order to meet the Olympics’ functional requirements.

The National Aquatics Center was designed by Chinese and Australian architects and it was the first structure in the whole world that was built based on the ‘soap bubble’ theory. It is also the first building to sport a polyhedral steel-framed structure.

The water cube building is being insulated by an advance membrane structure called ETFE (ethylene-tetrafluoroethylene copolymer). It is formed by 3.065 bubble-like pneumatic cushions of different sizes. Because of this, the Center became the first large-scale public project that is coated with the said advanced membrane.

The National Aquatics Center was called the Water Cube because of its appearance as an enormous blue box. Its color was blue for the structure to reflect sunlight and it shines like a pearl in water during daytime.

Many have recognized the different high technology and green technology used in the construction of the Cube, Popular Science magazine even chose it as the Best of What’s New of 2006.


Olympics Games and Other Uses

The National Aquatics Center hosted different events during the 2008 Olympic Games including swimming, diving, as well as synchronized swimming. After that year’s Games, the building turns into an international advance center for swimming, leisure activities, and even health-building services.

The Water Cube will also be used as the venue for curling competitions in the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.


The Water World

Inside the National Aquatics Center is a tourist complex which foreigners and even locals can enjoy.


The Water Cube Water Park

This themed indoor water park was first opened to the public on August 8, 2010. It is located in the south area of the aquatics center and offers different fun places to its visitors such as Speedslide, Tornado Rides, Passion for Stage, AquaLoop, Kid’s Pool, Pipeline, Wave Pool, and others.


The Waterdrop Theater

Located on the 4th floor of the Water Cube’s south building is the Waterdrop Theater that covers a total area of 200 square meters. It is a fully-equipped theater that can accommodate 150 audiences and show films in 3D or HD laser.

The SPA Zone

A good place to relax in the National Aquatics Center is the SPA zone which is equipped with international SPA technology and facilities.

Restaurant and Bars

The food and hangout places in the complex are also designed with water-theme patterns. Enjoying your gourmet meals will be more satisfying with the cool and unique styles of the Center’s restaurants and bars.

The Business Section

The souvenir shops in the building are located in the business section. In here, you will also learn more about the National Aquatics Center and the events that it held during the Olympics.


How to get there

  • You can ride Subway line 8 to go to the Aoti Zhongxin Station.
  • The buses that can take you to the Beichen Xiqiao Bei Station are bus 81, 82, 510, 607, and Sightseeing Bus 3. On the other hand, buses 81, 82, 86, 510, 607, and Special Line 13 or 15 can bring you to the Gouija Tiyuguan Station. Lastly, the buses that can bring you to the Beichenqiao Xi Station are buses 386, 407, 490, 645, 658, 660, 740, 983, Fast Transit Line 7, and Yuntong 113.


Ticket Price & Operating Hours

For visit only

  • Ticket Price
    • CNY 30
    • Children between 3.9-4.6 feet – CNY 15
    • Children under 3.9 feet are free of charge
    • A combo ticket for National Stadium and Water Cube costs CNY 80
  • Operating Hours
    • From May to October, the Center is open from 9 am to 8 pm
    • From November to April, the Center is open from 9 am to 6 pm

For swimming and visit

  • Ticket Price
    • CNY 60 for 2 hours
  • Operating Hours
    • It is open from 12:30 pm to 9 pm from June 15 to September 14
    • From September 15 to June 14, it is open from 12:30 pm to 9 pm from Monday to Friday and 9 am to 9 pm during weekends

Water Park

  • Ticket Price for 2018
    • Full price ticket from June 15 to August 31 and from October 1 to 8 is CNY 260 for adults and children above 3.9 feet
    • Full price ticket from April 30 to June 14 and the whole month of September is CNY 200 for adults and children above 3.9 feet
    • Saver ticket from June 15 to August 31 is CNY 220 for children between 1.2 meters and 1.5 meters
    • Saver ticket from April 30 to June 14 is CNY 180 for children between 1.2 meters and 1.5 meters
    • Night ticket from June 15 to August 31 is CNY 200 for adults and children above 3.9 feet
    • Admission is free for children below 3.9 feet from April 30 to October 8
  • Operating Hours
    • 10 am to 6 pm from Apr 30 to Jun 14
    • 10 am to 10 pm from Jun 15 to Aug 31
    • 10 am to 6 pm from Sept 1 to Oct 8

Waterdrop Theater

  • Ticket Price
    • CNY 20
  • Operating Hours
    • Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:30 am to 4:45 pm

Leave a Reply