The National Aquatics Center in Beijing, China, or Water Cube, as it is also called, is an imposing landmark designed by the ARUP architectural practice to act as a greenhouse due to a façade made of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene that permits sunlight to pass inside and passively heat the building as well as the water in the swimming pool.
The ETFE blue bubbles led to a reduction of the energy needed of 30% which is quite significant and the designers achieved this performance through the help of a multi-disciplinary design team. The Water Cube is in the Olympic Green area which was the host of the 2008 Beijing Games and the rectangular shape spreads over 70,000 square meters.
There are 17,000 seats and five swimming pools but the venue also incorporates a wave machine, different rides and a restaurant. Another feature of the façade is that it is very robust and cleans itself, thus reducing the maintenance costs.