Bubbles, by PTW

PTW - Watercube 3

Bubbles (Photographer: Firstrong)

For the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing the Australian architectural office PTW designed the Watercube, the National Swimming Centre. The building is situated next to the Olympic Stadium of the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. Next to the ‘nest’ the swimming pool features an iconography of bubbles. A (soap)bubble is structurally perfect, and has been an inspiration for architects like Buckminster Fuller and in his wake architects like Norman Foster and Nicholas Grimshaw. In this building the iconography of the bubble is used in a new way - instead of making an ‘ideal’ sphere with the bubbles PTW uses them to make a pragmatic box.

PTW - Watercube 2

PTW - Watercube 3

PTW - Watercube 4 


If we go into the meaning of the bubble-iconography you find that it does not only refer to the (soap)bubble perse, but that it also refers to the bubbles that the swimmers produce in their sports. On top of that the facade also looks like an inversion of a wave-pattern, an element that is reinforced by the grand scale of the bubbles. Furthermore it looks also like the reflection of the wave pattern on the floor of the pool.

A Geoff-ian note: There might be a time when Coca-Cola or Heineken might use this iconography for one of their buildings.

Beerbubbles (photographer: Runic)

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