London Aquatics Centre 2012 by Zaha Hadid


London 2012 Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid Architects

The aquatics centre designed by Zaha Hadid for the London 2012 Olympic Games is complete.

London 2012 Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid Architects

The 17,500-seat centre is the final permanent venue to be completed at the Olympic Park, one year ahead of the games.

London 2012 Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid Architects

The aquatics centre features an undulating wave-like roof that critics originally speculated would be too complex to build on time.

London 2012 Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid Architects

The competition and diving pools are sheltered below this steel roof, enclosed within the main hall.

London 2012 Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid Architects

Above photograph is by Anthony Charlton / Getty

A third pool to be used for training is located beneath the Stratford City Bridge, which is also sheltered by the curving canopy.

London 2012 Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid Architects

Above photograph is by Anthony Charlton / Getty

Wings on each side of the building provide additional seating but will be removed once the games are over.

London 2012 Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid Architects

Above photograph is by Anthony Charlton / Getty

Other completed venues on the Olympic Park include the Olympic Stadium by Populous, the Basketball Arena by Sinclair Knight Merz and the Velodrome by Hopkins, which was recently nominated for the Stirling Prize. See all our stories about London 2012 here.

London 2012 Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid also recently completed the Riverside Museum, which has a zig-zagging zinc-clad roof - click here to see all our stories about Zaha Hadid.

London 2012 Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid Architects

Photography is by David Poultney/Getty, apart from where otherwise stated.

London 2012 Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid Architects

Here are some more details from the Olympic Delivery Authority:

Aquatics Centre unveiled as main Olympic Park venues completed on time and budget

With exactly a year to go until the start of the London 2012 Games, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has announced that the Aquatics Centre is now complete, the last of the six main Olympic Park venues to finish construction.

The Olympic Stadium, Velodrome, Handball Arena, Basketball Arena and the International Broadcast Centre were all completed earlier this year.

The Aquatics Centre is being unveiled with British Olympic hopeful Tom Daley making the first dive into the pool.

Back in July 2006, the ODA set out a challenging brief to clean and clear the Olympic Park site and build the new venues and infrastructure needed in time for test events by the summer of 2011 - a year before the Games. This has now been achieved on time, to budget, with a safety record far better than the industry average, and by setting new standards in sustainability and accessible design.

Double Commonwealth Gold medallist and 2012 hopeful Tom Daley said: 'Marking the 1 year to go, by diving in the Aquatics Centre is an incredible honour. Only a few years ago, this was a distant dream. The fact that I qualified at the weekend and am taking the first dive is a complete privilege. I can't wait for next year and the honour of representing Team GB.'

ODA Chairman John Armitt said: 'The Aquatics Centre will be a fantastic gateway to the Games in 2012 and a much-needed new community and elite sporting venue for the capital afterwards. Five years ago, in July 2006, we published a delivery timetable which set out the ambitious target to complete the main venues a year before the Games. Today, with the completion of the sixth main permanent venue, I am proud to say that we have delivered on that commitment.

'The completion of the Aquatics Centre is the latest chapter in a British success story where tens of thousands of workers and business from across the UK have demonstrated the ability of this country to successfully deliver major projects.'

LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe said: 'With construction now complete on the Aquatics Centre, we are another step closer to the spectacular Olympic Park which will be host to world class sport in 2012. And after the Games, the venue will become a much-needed swimming facility for London with community use at its heart, epitomising the spirit of London’s bid – a Games which would bring lasting change and encourage people to choose sport. Everyone involved can be very proud of this venue and the progress of the Olympic Park as a whole. I congratulate the ODA and their teams who have done a fantastic job.'

Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt said: 'The build project for London 2012 has been a huge success for the British construction industry, public sector and UK plc as a whole. The completion of the Aquatics Centre is the final permanent world-class sport venue to be finished on the Park and a proud moment for the ODA. All those that have worked on the Olympic Park deserve huge credit for what they have achieved. The venues are stunning and the stage is now set for us to put on the greatest sporting show on earth.'

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'It's fantastic to add the beautiful Aquatics Centre to London's list of first class venues which are already set to welcome the world's greatest sportsmen and women. To have all six permanent venues complete with a year still to go to the Games is a great achievement, and a firm sign that we are well on track to deliver a truly spectacular show in 2012. Congratulations to the ODA and all those who have worked on the construction of the Olympic Park for reaching this milestone.'

Andrew Altman, Chief Executive of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, said: 'The Aquatics Centre will be a unique facility in London that puts sport at the heart of regeneration. As a focal point for community, national and international swimming, it will sit at the centre of the south plaza - London’s newest public space which will welcome visitors to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park after the Games.'

Construction started on the Zaha Hadid-designed Aquatics Centre just over three years ago in June 2008 and has been completed on time and with an exemplary safety record. Over 3630 people have worked on the construction of the venue and over 370 UK businesses have won contracts including the steel for the roof from Wales, pool lights from Scotland, pumps from Bedfordshire, under-floor heating by a company from Newcastle-upon-Tyne and water testing done by a Flintshire-based business.

In total, over 40,000 people have worked on the Park since April 2008 and over 1500 direct contracts worth £6bn have been distributed to thousands of companies across the UK.

  • Karen

    top view looks like it's about to take off :)))

  • Sorry Zaha this one isn't quite you actually ! Seems more like a post modern economic crisis bird :)

  • Bill

    I admire the way that london has approached these olympics, utilising the legacy as a real driving force in the design process. This approach although far from perfect is positive step in avoiding situations such as the Athens games site, which is now little more than a wasteland. This building for me is one which will really stand out after the games, but what with the stands crammed in where the windows should go, it seems a bit lacking in atmosphere for the actual competition. Still perhaps it'll be different when its crammed full of spectators.

  • TMS

    wow hopkins really ends up stealing the show from hadid in the olympic stadium competition. Maybe not totally zaha inc.'s fault but that stadium is surely not beautiful anymore. Maybe think about the budget beforehand next time eh?

  • Worth £278 Million !!

  • zoinked

    It will be beautiful once it gets it's braces off.
    Pitty it has em on for the main event.

  • shame…

  • nicey

    mmm; i wonder if they will ever take the wings off. might cost more to take them off than just leave them there. could save some money by shutting them off with osb board and skipping on the maintenance too. it'd be the british way.

  • kgt

    Maybe Zaha's worst building

  • vee

    What an awful piece of work. Still don't understand why, if it's a building built for the olympics, it will look that way for the olympics.

  • Robbie

    I think the outside will work when the stands come down, but the inside is stunning, the flowing form of the roof is amazing, and for once, Zaha has designed a building fit for its purpose!!! All you people who base your opinion solely on how the place looks have no idea about design.

  • junihaoni

    from lacoste shoes to a bicycle seat.

  • oh good nothing inspires speed like an overweight moth…

  • JBS

    I can't wait to see it, especially once it is in Legacy mode, it's true beauty will be revealed.

    Bravo Zaha – on time and on budget once again!

  • mario

    I expected a lot about this project. The proposal they designed for the competition was really outstanding. However, it is very disappointing that the final building has nothing to do with the original one. Obviously, the crisis factor has ruined it.

  • @ChanArchi

    The ugly duckling of the olympics. After the event this will become the most beautiful stadium of them all. I really don't think people will remember the stands ten years down the line – just be happy to have a beautiful stadium to use for the future. LIKE

  • The exterior, looks like a kotex

  • Len

    It reminds me of some Santiago Calatrava's works, slightly.

  • corey

    well, it's no watercube.

  • edub

    whut… SYMMETRY??… this is not Hadid!?

  • Karen

    It looks like Hopkins building will be the winner at least during the Olympics. well done guys!. Looking forward for going for a walk in the park!

  • JuiceMajor

    Highly Disappointing but not her fault…its the BUDGET!!

  • PeterB

    Good heavens! A giant panty-liner on the East London horizon.

    Is this Coe's legacy?

    Is this what us Londoners have been taxed to pay for, but with no possibility of attending?

  • eugmir

    the renderings of this were fantastic, and this is not that :(

  • a section please?

  • fernando esperanto

    It's not Zaha's fault?

    Yes it is! This building is pitiful – and as someone correctly points out above – it's a building commissioned precisely for the Olympics, who cares what it'll look like in 'legacy' mode.

    I briefly worked at ZHA and this building proves what everyone on the client side knows about the practice: they can't design to budget. The initial design was beautiful, but when the budget was slashed, so the design should have changed, radically. The end result is just sloppy. And embarrassment for London, the ODA and Zaha Hadid.

  • The budget!?! If you cannot produce something worthwhile for 500, million dollars than an architect, you are not.

  • The outside design is perfect but it looks a little dark inside with those wall color. But it's still amazing!

  • rickstar

    My first impression has remained consistent throughout the Olympics – worst aquatic centre seen in an Olympics in many years. When it’s worse than the Cube in Beijing, it’s bad. Really bad.

  • Tim

    Amazing to read these previous comments now that the building is in full legacy mode and in my view looks fantastic and functions very well. Would love to hear follow up views from the commenters who felt that looking good for 8 weeks of the Olympics was more important that the many years this great building will be open to the public.