On Saturday 1 March, the Zaha Hadid Architects-designed Aquatics Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park opened to the public in its completed legacy form. During the London 2012 Olympic Games, the ethereal structure was one of the most talked-about venues with a swooping form that earned it the title of ‘the Olympics’ most majestic space’ from The Guardian’s architecture critic, Rowan Moore.
The great concrete volume is now free of its seating wings and able to glide freely, the seating stands required during the Olympic Games stripped away and replaced by extensive glazing that guides the watery London sunlight inside. Local residents and visitors to the Park will now be able to enjoy the architecturally-stunning Olympic-sized pool for the modest fee of £3.50 (non-member off-peak adult) with lessons also on offer for less experienced swimmers.
The London Aquatics Centre is comprised of: a 50m, ten lane competition pool; a 50m, eight-lane training pool; a diving pool and dry diving facilities; a gym; a café; and a crèche. While the two original wings of seating have been removed, the venue has retained seating for 2,500 spectators, meaning that it can still host international sporting events. The FINA/NVC 2014 Diving Series and 2016 European Swimming Championships will both be held at the London Aquatics Centre.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “After a post-Olympic makeover, London’s majestic aquatics centre is now flinging open its doors for everyone to enjoy, whether an elite athlete or enthusiastic amateur. All of the world class sporting venues on the magnificent Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park have secured bright, futures, dispelling fears of white elephants and helping to drive our ambitious regeneration plans for east London.”
Click here to book tickets (and avoid the queues!) to the London Aquatic Centre designed by Zaha Hadid Architects and ARUP.