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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

PostHeaderIcon Beijing's 'Water Cube' unveiled

China officially unveiled its bubble-wrapped National Aquatics Centre, nicknamed the "Water Cube", on Tuesday, one of the two iconic venues for this year's Beijing Olympics.

The imposing rectangular box, clad in a honeycomb of transparent cushions, will host the swimming, diving and synchronised swimming during the August 8-24 sporting spectacular.

The US$143.2 million complex does not yet match the "dreamlike and water-blue building" of the official description and the ETFE pneumatic cushions clearly need a clean to get rid of the grime of construction.

There was no disguising, however, the delight of the officials in the completion of the complicated structure, which was designed by an Australian consortium and on which work started in 2003.

"I feel very excited and proud of this venue," Li Aiqing, president of the Beijing State-Owned Assets Management Company, told reporters.

"It is one of the biggest swimming centres in the world. The whole project is complex and unique. After five years of effort, we are very, very happy." (...more)

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