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London 2012 Aquatics

Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA)

The geometry of the waves.


This video is part of a series by Zaha Hadid shown at Visions, the 2009 Beyond Media festival in Florence. "The View Master" series included videos from some of the most outstanding architectural studios that used film as part of their investigation. The MVRDV’s View Master is also available on The Architecture Player.


In a straightforward one-minute-long animation, Zaha Hadid unveiled her project for the London Aquatic Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
What would be a better fit for ZHA's signature style than a center for Aquatic sports? A perfect opportunity to exhibit and capture both the fluidity and the magnificence that characterize the aesthetic of the architecture studio, with its curved and smooth buildings and their heights.

Clearly inspired by the fluid geometry of water in motion, the 2012 London Aquatic Centre plays with space and the surrounding environment, within the river landscape of the Olympic Park. An undulating roof sweeps up from the ground as a wave – enclosing the pools of the center with its unifying gesture of fluidity, whilst also describing the volume of the swimming and diving pools.

Located in East London, the London Aquatic Centre is situated within the Olympic Park Masterplan, in the proximities of Stratford, redefining the cityscape of the area. In a note by ZHA, we read, "The new pedestrian access from the east-west bridge called the Stratford City Bridge which links the Stratford City development with the Olympic Park will cross over the LAC. This will provide a very visible frontage for the LAC along the bridge. Several smaller pedestrian bridges will connect the site to the Olympic Park over the existing canal."

As it frequently happens with ZHA video, the preexisting landscape is erased, as if ZHA's architectures have the ability to completely redefine and recreate the environment in which they are located, even though this project was designed to fit into a masterplan. More, we can only access the view of the exteriors. However, it is interesting to note that ZHA since the beginning of the construction of the center (which took from 2005 to 2011) said that "the overall strategy is to frame the base of the pool hall as a podium by surrounding it and connecting it into the bridge", setting and reinforcing the idea of the project we are getting from the video.

(Story by Sara Marzullo, The Architecture Player)

Authors icon Credits

Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA)
Design: Zaha Hadid, Sara Klomps, Jim Heverin
Mentioned project: London 2012 Acquatics Centre (2005-2011)
Project location: London, United Kingdom

United Kingdom 2011
Duration: 1'05"