Aquatics Centre unveiled

July 27, 2011

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. New aerial images of the Olympic Park and venues can be downloaded here – Aerial Images.  

The Aquatics Centre is being unveiled today with British Olympic hopeful Tom Daley making the first dive into the pool this evening. New images of the completed Aquatics Centre and activity taking place inside the venue will be available from midday on Wednesday 27th July from here – Aquatics images.

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.

Notes to editors:
1.    New images of the completed  Aquatics Centre and activity taking place inside the venue will be available from midday on Wednesday 27th July at:

2.    New aerial images of the Olympic Park and venues can be downloaded at:

3. Download the ODA publication Building the Olympic Park 2005–11 part one and part two.

4.    Aquatics Centre fact-file:
–    The Zaha Hadid designed Aquatics Centre is located in the south of the Olympic Park and will be the main ‘Gateway into the Games’.
–    The Aquatics Centre will have a capacity of 17,500 during the Games, hosting swimming, diving, synchronised swimming, and the swimming element of the Modern Pentathlon.
–    After the Games, the venue is reduced to a maximum of 2,500, with the ability to add 1,000 for major events, and provides two 50m swimming pools with moveable floors and separation booms, a diving pool and dry diving area for a full range of community and elite use.
–    Before construction could begin, 11 industrial buildings were demolished and around 160,000 tonnes of soil was dug out on of what was one of the more polluted areas of the Olympic Park. Four skeletons were discovered and removed from a prehistoric settlement discovered on the site of the Aquatic Centre.
–    Balfour Beatty is building the Aquatics Centre and huge land-bridge that forms the roof of the training pool and the main pedestrian access to the Olympic Park.
–    The sweeping roof, which is 160m long and 90m at its widest point, is an innovative steel structure weighing over 3000 tonnes with a striking and robust aluminium covering, half of which is recycled, resting on three supports.
–    Over 850,000 ceramic tiles installed in the pools, poolside and changing rooms.
–    6 unique diving boards were constructed on site: a 5m board; a 7.5m board and 3m board; a 10m board; and 3m springboards.
–    All 3 pools hold a total of 10million litres of water.
–    The venue contains 9,000 tonnes of steel and the hardwood ceiling is made up of 37,000 individual strips.
–    Over 370 companies have won contracts for goods and services on the Aquatics Centre. Examples include:

  •  Alcontrol Laboratories from Flintshire – water testing
  •  Aqua Pharos from east Kilbride, Scotland – pool lights
  • Grunfoss from Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire – pumps
  • HJL Underflooring from  Newcastle-upon-Tyne – underfloor heating
  • Littlewood Fencing from  Battle, East Sussex – timber deck surfacing
  • Pitchmastic PMB Ltd from  Sheffield – waterproofing services
  • Rowecord from Newport, Wales – steel for the roof
  • Response Safety Setting Ltd from Stafffordshire – safety netting checks
  • Straight line Services from Dartford, Kent – safety grilles
  • Sound Research Laboratories Ltd, Suffolk – acoustic services
  • Cordek from Slinfold, West Sussex – diving board moulds

5.    Olympic Park fact file:
Olympic Park

  • 2.5 square kilometres (246 hectares) in size – equivalent size to Hyde Park
  • 8.35km of waterways in and around Park
  • Ten rail lines will serve the Olympic Park
  • 5 new permanent venues
  • 30 new bridges
  • 30,000 people will have worked on the construction project by 2012
  • 4,000 new trees will be planted across the Olympic Park and Olympic Village
  • 75p in every £1 is spent on legacy
  • 100 per cent of spectators will get to Games by public transport, walking or cycling
  • Over 40,000 people have worked on the Olympic Park and Village.
  • Olympic Stadium
  • Construction started in May 2008 and was completed in just under 3 years
  •  The Stadium will host the athletics events and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies during the London 2012 Games
  • 80,000 capacity in Games-time; flexible design allows venue seating to be scaled back after the Games
  • Structure contains 10,000 tonnes of steel – the lightest Olympic Stadium to date
  • 14 lighting towers in place 60 metres above the field of play – each is 28 m high, weighs 34 tonnes and can house up to 44 floodlights
  • 700 rooms & spaces within Stadium, including 8 changing rooms & 4 prayer rooms
  • Five bridges installed to connect the Stadium island to the rest of the Park.


  • First Olympic Park venue to be completed in February 2011
  • 6,000 seat Velodrome to host Olympic and Paralympic indoor track cycling events
  • Legacy Velodrome will include a café and a 360 degree concourse level offering views over the Olympic Park and the London skyline
  • 250 metre track was laid by a team of 26 specialist carpenters, with 56km of timber laid to form the track surface, fixed in place with more than 300,000 nails
  • The distinct double-curved roof of the Velodrome (nicknamed ‘the Pringle’) has been designed to reflect the geometry of the cycling track
  • Legacy facilities include BMX Track, one-mile long road cycle circuit, 6km of off-road mountain bike tracks and storage for over 300 bikes.


  • Third Olympic Park venue completed in May 2011
  • 6,500-capacity arena with multicoloured seating – will host Olympic Handball competition, the Fencing discipline of the Modern Pentathlon, and Goalball during the Paralympic Games.
  • After the Games, capacity will be increased to up to 7,500 spectators as it becomes a multi-use venue for community use, athletic training and events.
  • Venue designed with distinct copper-cladding and 88 rooftop sun-pipes to allow the field of play to be naturally lit
  • Retractable lower seating tier allows variety of activities to take place on field of play.


  •  Basketball Arena was fourth Olympic Park venue completed in summer 2011 – one of the quickest venues to finish construction
  • One of the largest temporary venues ever used for an Olympic Games and will be dismantled after the Games to be reused elsewhere
  • 12,000 capacity in Games-time
  • 1,000-tonne steel frame is 35 metre high – as tall as the Tate Modern.
  • IBC/MPC (media centre)
  • Will support around 20,000 broadcasters, photographers and journalists communicating the Games to a worldwide audience of 4 billion people
  • Legacy of 900,000 sq ft of sustainable business space
  • IBC features 52,000sq m of studio space over two floors up to 10 metres high, plus a further 8,000sq m of offices over five floors at the front of the building
  • 5 jumbo jets could fit wing-to-wing in the building
  • MPC will provide 29,000sq m of office space over four storeys
  • Facilities also include a 12,000sq m catering village serving 50,000 meals over 24 hours a day; a 200 metre-long High Street featuring shops and services; and a temporary conference room for up to 800 journalists.
  • The IBC/MPC will be completed in July 2011.

Olympic Village

  • Will provide accommodation for around 23,000 athletes and officials
  • After the Games the Village will create 2,818 new homes for Londoners
  • Facilities include:
  • four-storey Polyclinic providing state-of-the-art healthcare and community facilities
  • Chobham Academy education campus with 1,800 places for students aged 3 – 19
  • 10 hectares of new parks and open space
  • The Village will be completed in early 2012.


  • Over 4,000 trees, 74,000 plants, 60,000 bulbs and 240,000 wetlands plants will be planted – the largest planting project ever undertaken in the UK.
  • 45 hectares of wildlife habitats – including reedbeds, grasslands, ponds, woodlands, 525 bird boxes, 150 bat boxes.


  • Vision of creating a ‘green’ Games which would leave behind a lasting legacy
  • Largest new urban park in the UK for over a century – will feature 45 hectares of wildlife habitats including reedbeds, grasslands, ponds, woodlands, 525 bird boxes, 150 bat boxes and artificial otter holts
  • 98 per cent of construction waste reused or recycled and diverted from landfill
  • UK’s largest ever soil-washing operation – nearly two million tonnes of contaminated soil cleaned for reuse on the Olympic Park.
  • Venues have been design and constructed with a range of sustainable features:

Olympic Stadium: Roof truss was made out of unwanted gas pipelines and recycled granite from King George V docks was used for the Stadium’s river banks.

Olympic Village: Will achieve 44 per cent reduction in carbon emissions and 30 per cent reduction in water use – meeting ‘Code for Sustainable Homes Level Four’.

Velodrome: Roof weighs roughly half that of any other covered Velodrome. Almost 100 per cent naturally ventilated. Natural light is used to reduce energy consumption and rain water will be collected from the roof for flushing toilets and irrigation.

Aquatics Centre: Reuse of pool water for flushing toilets.

Handball Arena: Can be naturally lit be a series of 88 rooftop sun-pipes. Rainwater harvesting system reduces non-potable usage by 40 per cent.


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