The Aquatics Centre for the London 2012 Olympics has now been completed and will be unveiled today.
The £269 million venue will be unveiled today with British Olympic hopeful Tom Daley making the first dive into the pool this evening.
The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), which is in charge of the Olympic build, has started the handover of major venues. The Olympic Stadium, Velodrome, Handball Arena, Basketball Arena, and the International Broadcast Centre were all competed earlier this year.
The ODA said the Olympic build had been achieved on time, to budget, with a safety record far better than the industry average, and set new standards in sustainability and accessible design. It also managed to make good on its challenging brief, set back in July 2006, 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.
ODA chairman John Armitt said: “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.”
More than 3,600 people have worked on the Aquatics Centre, with its signature wave-life roof designed by leading architect Zaha Hadid, since construction began there in June 2008.
One of the few negatives is the feeling it will look “nicer and more beautiful” after 2012 than it will during the Games, Denis Oswald, the chairman of the International Olympic Committee's co-ordination commission has stated.
The Aquatics Centre, which will host the swimming, diving, synchronised swimming and modern pentathlon competitions, was meant to be one of the boldest architectural statements in the Olympic Park.
But the design of the building has had to be compromised by the addition of two giant “wings” to accommodate an extra 15,000 temporary seats during the Olympics. The two grandstands will be taken down afterwards. It is an effort to try and avoid an oversized white elephant after the Games and to leave a suitable capacity for future venue use.
After the Games, the venue is reduced to a maximum capacity of 2,500, with the ability for an additional 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.
London 2012 chairman Lord 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.
“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.”