London Aquatic Center

  • Building Type : Swimming pool
  • Construction Year : 2012
  • Delivery year : 2012
  • Address 1 - street : Olympic Park E20 2ZQ LONDON, United Kingdom
  • Climate zone : [Cfb] Marine Mild Winter, warm summer, no dry season.

  • Net Floor Area : 42 866 m2
  • Construction/refurbishment cost : 331 000 000 €
  • Cost/m2 : 7721.74 €/m2

Proposed by :

Certifications :

  • Primary energy need :
    794 kWhpe/m2.year
    (Calculation method : Other )
Energy consumption
Economical buildingBuilding
< 50A
51 à 90B
91 à 150C
151 à 230D
231 à 330E
331 à 450F
> 450G
Energy-intensive building
Abstract ‘Legacy’ is the concept that underlies the sustainability agenda of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, embracing temporary infrastructure and venues to leave behind a vibrant, productive community with world-class, affordable sporting facilities. The Aquatics Centre, developed as an architectural icon, was the most complex venue constructed on the Olympic Park. This case study explores the integration of sustainability into the Aquatics Centre, providing a balanced view of the venue’s sustainability credentials and considering its contribution to the sustainability agenda beyond the boundaries of the Park. The Aquatics Centre London’s bid to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games presented a comprehensive vision for the first sustainable Games. In 2007, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) embodied this commitment in its sustainable Development Strategy. The Aquatics Centre’s design featured in the bid, with an iconic wave-like roof defining the gateway to the Park for the majority of visitors. Temporary seating structures provide a 17,500-seat Games-time capacity for the venue. After the Games these are replaced by a 14-metre-high cantilevered glazed curtain wall, reducing capacity to a legacyappropriate 2,500 and flooding the interior with natural daylight.

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Data reliability



    Olympic Delivery Authority

Construction Manager

    Zaha Hadid Architects


    Construction Manager

    Glenn Morley et Sara Klomps


    Architen Landrell Associates (ALA)

    Address: Station Road, Chepstow NP16 5PF. Contact: 01291 638200. Email:


    Tensys (Design office)


    Serge ferrari

    ZI BP 54 38352 LA TOUR DU PIN CEDEX Tél : 04 74 83 59 59 Fax : 04 74 83 59 44

Owner approach of sustainability

The concept of the London Aquatic Center in the environmental approach of the organizers: to build permanent structures to the extent that they found a use after the event, and to build temporary structures in the opposite case. Thus, only the central building will be part of the Olympic legacy: an aquatic center with a capacity of 2,500 seats. The wings which shelter the removable stands of 17,500 places during the competition could be disassembled after. Composite materials will be re-used in the UK as new tensile structures.

Architectural description

Design Concept
The architectural concept of the London Aquatics Centre is inspired by the fluid geometry of water in motion, creating spaces and a surrounding environment in sympathy with the river landscape of the Olympic Park. An undulating roof sweeps up from the ground as a wave - enclosing the pools of the Centre with its unifying gesture of fluidity, whilst also describing the volume of the swimming and diving pools. The London Aquatics Centre is designed to have the flexibility to accommodate the size and capacity of the London 2012 Olympic Games whilst also providing the optimum size and capacity for use in Legacy mode after the 2012 Games. 

(Picture 1)
The podium element allows for the containment of a variety of differentiated and cellular programmatic elements into a single architectural volume which is seen to be completely assimilated with the bridge and the landscape. The podium emerges from the bridge to cascade around the pool hall to the lower level of the canal.

(Picture 2)
The pool hall is expressed above the podium level by a large roof which arches along the same axis as the pools. Its form is generated by the sightlines for the spectators during the Olympic mode. Double-curvature geometry has been used to create a structure of parabolic arches that define its form. The roof undulates to differentiate the volumes of the competition and diving pools, and extends beyond the pool hall envelope to cover the external areas of the podium and entrance on the bridge.

(Picture 3)
The roof structure is grounded at three points of the centre (two points at the northwest end on the bridge; and one single point to the south east end). This structural arrangement ensured 7,500 temporary spectator seats could be installed along either side of the pools in Olympic mode (total 15,000 temporary seats) with no structural obstructions. After the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, this temporary seating has been removed and replaced with glazing panels, leaving a capacity of 2,500 seats for community use and future national/international events, with a significantly reduced pool hall volume.

Energy consumption

  • 794,00 kWhpe/m2.year
  • 3 249,00 kWhpe/m2.year
  • Other

    Annual energy usage on the Part "L" energy model of the Aquatic Center :
    50% Equipment
    42% Heating
    5% Lighting
    2% Fans, pumps, controls
    1% Colling

Envelope performance

    RIBA Stage L2 and Stage L3 for the Olympic Mode was undertaken in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Very positive feedback was received from ODA, LOCOG, the IOC and users such as athletes, press and spectators. RIBA Stage 2 for the Legacy Mode was completed in December 2013 and L3 has been on-going since then with the pool to be open to the public from March 2014.

Real final energy consumption

    2 017


    • Urban network
    • Heat pump
    • Combined Heat and Power
    • Others
    • Heat pump
    • Other hot water system
    • Reversible heat pump
    • Others
    • VAV Syst. (Variable Air Volume system)
    • Others
    • compensated Air Handling Unit
    • Biomass boiler
    • Other, specify

    District heating and power supply for Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from a combination of biomass boilers and CCHP facilities for a 30% reduction in carbon emissions.

    optimisation of the main roof geometry to balance the benefit of passive solar heating and the risk of summer overheating

Smart Building

    The main pool hall is naturally lit, the pool tanks are insulated, and an adaptable environmental control system allows ventilation to be customised within specific areas of the large volume space. This gives the building’s operators the option of avoiding excessive use of mechanical ventilation in areas where it isn’t needed.

GHG emissions

  • 53,60 KgCO2/m2/year
  • IES VE 6.1.1 PartL 2008 NCM /!\ Total emission without GHG before use

  • 25,00 year(s)
  • 1 340,00 KgCO2 /m2
  • Calculations of carbon emissions use the following conversion factors: Natural Gas 0.198 kgCO2/kWh Grid Electricity 0.517 kgCO2/kWh (Divide by seasonal COP for Heat Pumps) Fuel Oil 0.297 kgCO2/kWh Biomass 0.013 kgCO2/kWh Biogas 0.018 kgCO2/kWh

Life Cycle Analysis

    Based on EVEA's Life Cycle Analyzes, roof and wall recycling via Texyloop® has reduced environmental impacts by 50%, producing 23 tonnes of 2nd generation raw materials.

  • 50,00
  • We substantially reduced the carbon footprint of the London Aquatics Centre by primarily using secondary aggregates and cement replacement material – in essence, recycled rather than ‘new’ concrete. We were the first team designing 2012 Olympic venues to push beyond the standard supplier offering of 50% coarse aggregate substitution. In the end, more than 75% secondary aggregates were used in some concrete mixes to offset limestone aggregates used for the pool tank. We exceeded targets set by the ODA, with concrete contributing just 3% to the building’s carbon footprint. We were awarded a BREEAM Innovation Credit for our use of concrete mixes.

    Over 150,000 tonnes of concrete was used in the Aquatics Centre and the integrated pedestrian bridge. The dedication of the team in maximising the sustainability of the concrete achieved over 4,000 tonnes of embodied CO2 savings and substitution of over 29,000 tonnes of primary aggregate, equivalent to 28 per cent of the total. 

    In total, over 80 per cent of the 235,000 tonnes of loose aggregates used were from a recycled source, a significantly higher percentage than any other venue on the Park.
    Temporary stands enclosed with phthalate-free PVC.
    The majority of recycled aggregate was construction and demolition waste from elsewhere in the London area. A further 23,000 tonnes was obtained from the site-wide soil hospital which created blended engineering materials from the soil-washing remediation process.

Water management

  • 40 000,00 m3
  • 2 700,00 m3
  • To reduce the building’s potable water demand by more than 40% (against standard designs), we developed a system that uses backwash water from the swimming pool filtration plant to flush urinals and toilets. Further savings were achieved via low-flow sanitary fittings. With greatest demand for potable water coming from showering, incorporating low-flow showers and basins delivered 35% potable water saving. Rainwater harvesting was also incorporated into the design, with harvested water used to irrigate the green wall at the southern end of the building.

Indoor Air quality

    We made extensive use of measures to maximise energy efficiency, including high levels of insulation and envelope air tightness, low velocity ventilation systems with high efficiency heat recovery, and water based heating systems with variable speed pumps. An Ammonia chiller plant provides space cooling and-uses rejected heat for pool water heating.


    Precontraint 1202 S2 Black out NPP Roof

    Serge Ferrari

    ZI BP 54 38352 LA TOUR DU PIN CEDEX Tél : 04 74 83 59 59 Fax : 04 74 83 59 44

    Finishing work / Partitions, insulation

    Totale surface : 18,000m²

    Light construction system
    The fully demountable wings are covered with 18,000 m² of opaque Precontraint 1002 S2. A lightweight construction solution, this composite membrane seals the roof and contributes to the building's luminous and thermal ambience. Paradox of the structure, the composite membrane that is usually suitable for curves is used here in flat interlining, in spans of 7 meters. It slides in aluminum profiles fixed on the steel frame. The Serge Ferrari composite is NPP * and guarantees the required level of resistance, aesthetics (whiteness and brilliance) and the imposed fire classification rating Euroclass B-s2, d0. Serge Ferrari is the only manufacturer of the sector to have risen to the challenge.

    Stamisol FT 381 NPP

    Serge Ferrari

    ZI BP 54 38352 LA TOUR DU PIN CEDEX Tél : 04 74 83 59 59 Fax : 04 74 83 59 44

    Structural work / Structure - Masonry - Facade

    Totale surface : 7,000m²

    Exterior security cladding for stands
    7,000 m² of white Stamisol FT 381 openwork composite material envelops and secures the temporary stands. Its intrinsic characteristics and its recyclability have been decisive in the choice of material: Stamisol FT 381 reduces heat transmission and promotes air circulation with a porosity of 28%, thus helping to regulate the hygrometry of the interior space. Designed for large ventilated facades, Stamisol FT is of unparalleled strength. It is rated B-s2, d0 and is 100% recyclable.

Construction and exploitation costs

  • 331 000 000

Urban environment

Site Context 

The London Aquatics Centre is located at the south eastern edge of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on the new Stratford City Bridge giving pedestrian access to the park from the new Stratford City development and public transportation. 


The Aquatics Centre is planned on an orthogonal axis perpendicular to the Stratford City Bridge. Along this axis are laid out the three pools. The training pool is located under the bridge whilst the competition and diving pools are within a large volumetric pool hall. The overall strategy is to frame the base of the pool hall as a podium by surrounding it and connecting it into the bridge.

Land plot area

21 897,00 m2

Built-up area

75,00 %

Parking spaces

There are 111 Pay & Display car parking spaces in the car park located next to the London Aquatics Centre. Otherwise, there is plenty of parking available in nearby Westfield.

There are more than 140 cycle racks outside the London Aquatics Centre, including a Santander Cycles docking station located outside the centre

Building Environmental Quality

  • indoor air quality and health
  • biodiversity
  • works (including waste management)
  • acoustics
  • comfort (visual, olfactive, thermal)
  • waste management (related to activity)
  • water management
  • energy efficiency
  • renewable energies
  • building end of life management
  • integration in the land
  • building process
  • products and materials
comming soon...

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  • Pauline RIVOIRARD

    Digital Manager


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