London Aquatic Centre, London by Zaha Hadid


London Aquatic Centre

LOCATION: Olympic Delivery Authority, Stratford, London

ARCHITECT: Zaha Hadid Architects

AREA: 15950 m2

YEAR: 2011

Image ©Zaha Hadid Architects


The London Aquatic Centre, located at the South-Eastern edge of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, present on the new Stratford City Bridge. Above all, the bridge gives pedestrian access to the park from the new Stratford City development and public transportation. The London Aquatic Centre has a provision of two indoor swimming pools of 50 meters. The other one is a 25-meter diving pool located in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, London. Designed by the Pritzker Award-winning Architect Zaha Hadid. The center got open to the public in March 2014.


The form of the center, itself holds a deep meaning, inspired by the fluid geometry of water in motion. As a result, it creates a space and surrounding environment that reflect the riverside landscapes of the Olympic Park. Consequently, an undulating roof, that sweeps up from the ground as a wave- which encloses the pools of the Centre with the unifying gesture of fluidity. While it also describes the volume of the swimming and diving pools.

London Aquatic Centers, designed to accommodate 17,500 spectators, for the 2012 London Olympics in ‘Olympic’ mode. Whereas, it now serves in a ‘Legacy’ mode with spectators capacity of 2000.

London aquatic centre
Image ©Zaha Hadid Architects


Planned on an orthogonal axis, the London Aquatic Center sits perpendicular to the Stratford City Bridge. All three pools are aligned on the same axis. The training pool is present under the bridge, where competition and diving pools located within the large pool hall enclosed by the roof. The overall strategy is to frame the base of the pool hall as a podium by surrounding it and connecting it into the bridge. 

This podium element also allows for the containment of a variety of differentiated and cellular programmatic elements into a single architectural volume. This is further seen to be completely assimilated with the bridge and the landscape.

The pool hall sits above the podium by a large roof which arches along the same axis as the pools. In addition, its form generated by the sightlines of the 17,500 spectators in its Olympic mode. Double-curvature geometry used to generate a parabolic arch structure that creates the unique characteristics of the roof. The roof further undulates to differentiate between the volumes of the competition pool and the diving pool. Projecting beyond the pool hall envelope, the roof extends to the external areas and to the main entrance on the bridge that will be the primary access in Legacy mode. Structurally, the roof is grounded at 3 primary positions with the opening between the roof and podium used for the additional spectator seating in Olympic mode, then in-filled with a glass façade in Legacy mode.

Swimming pool
Image ©Hufton & Crow
material detail
Image ©Hufton & Crow


Also, to know more about the projects of the evergreen architect Zaha Hadid, click here

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