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Sustainable Olympic aquatics stadium unveiled ready for Rio 2016 Games

Sustainable Olympic aquatics stadium unveiled ready for Rio 2016 Games

The organisers of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro unveiled the Olympic Aquatic Stadium on 8 April, 2016. The sports complex, which will host swimming and water polo, has been built using “nomadic architecture” techniques that will allow it to be taken down and rebuilt into two smaller aquatic centres after the Games are over.


Read more: The architecture of Rio 2016 - in pictures


Rio Olympic Aquatics Stadium

Image: © Rio City Government/Renato Sette Camra


A natural ventilation system was worked into the aquatic centre’s design which will keep the 14,997 capacity stadium cool while saving energy. Complex calculations involving the inputting of average Games-time temperatures in the Barra Olympic Park were used in the ventilation system’s design. Some 15,000 strategically positioned tiny holes were drilled into the structure to ensure unrestricted air-flow throughout. 


According to Rio’s local government, which oversaw the venue’s construction, said that this building technique has saved considerable amounts of energy. Without it, the equivalent of 10,000 household air conditioning units would be needed to keep the arena artificially cool.


Two pools are featured in the stadium’s design - one for competitions and one for training. Each has a total capacity of 3.7 million litres of water. Seating surrounds the competition pool. The front row seats are as close as 10 metres from the pool, giving spectators a spectacular view of all the aquatic action. 


A unique filtration system has been incorporated into the stadium that will reduce the use of chemicals by 25%. Temperature wise, the water will be kept between 25 and 28 degrees as advised by aquatic sport’s global governing body FINA. 


Aesthetically, the Olympic Aquatic Stadium is a treat for the eyes. A work of art by celebrated Brazilian artist Adriana Varejão envelopes the exterior. Sixty six panels, each measuring 27 metres in height, reproduce Varejão’s Celacanto Provoca Maremoto, an installation displayed at the Inhotim Institute in Minas Gerais in South-Eastern Brazil. 


Olympic Aquatics Stadium

Image: © Rio 2016/Alex Ferra


Portuguese tiling is mixed with baroque style to create vivid imagery of the sea and angels. Each of the panels is anti-UV treated to help further regulate the building’s temperature.


Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was joined by the Mayor of Rio Eduardo Paes, acting Governor of the state of Rio Francisco Dornelles, and Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman in unveiling the new aquatic centre.


At the stadium’s opening ceremony, President Rousseff said: “We are delivering a high-quality venue, on time and on budget.” Funding for the stadium centre came from the Brazilian government. Total costs for the 2016 Games are expected to reach $10.8 billion. 


Rio Olympics Aquatic Stadium

Image: © Rio City Government/Renato Sette Camra


During the Olympic Games, the venue will host swimming events between 6-13 August and the knock-out stages of the water polo competitions on 14-20 August. Paralympic swimming events will be held here on 8-17 September 2016.


As with the Future Arena, another major Olympic venue, the Aquatic Stadium will be dismantled and reused once the 2016 Games have been completed. Its parts will be used in the construction of two aquatics centres. One will feature a 50 metre covered pool with capacity for 6,000 people. The other will also feature a 50 metre pool with a total capacity of 3,000. 


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