Beijing National Aquatics Centre ‘Water Cube’ construction model

Made in Beijing, China, 2007.

The model is an excellent representation of the important structural and material engineering features of the ‘Water Cube’ National Aquatic Centre, Beijing, an international innovation with major contributions from Australian architects and engineers. It was constructed for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The model shows the geometry adopted by the structural engineers, the specialised roof and wall cladding material and design, and the sectioned interior of the main foyer.

The model’s steel no...


Sectioned construction model, Beijing National Aquatics Centre or 'Water Cube' with cover, plastic / electrical wiring / internal lighting / wood, made by Micro Model, Beijing, China, 2007

The model is covered with an acrylic case.

The white panels, which have multi-coloured LED lights, are located on the left-hand side and at the rear of the model. These panels are screwed to the cover.

The model is sectioned at the front elevation, which allows a direct view of the internal architecture and engineering structures. The tubular steel structures and their connecting nodes can be seen from all viewing angles, as can the hexagonal structures that dominate the roof of the Water Cube.

Scaled human figures are located randomly on the ground and first floors.

Excluding the sectioned portion of the model, the roof, rear, left-hand side wall and internal wall linings have been clad in double-layered ETFE material.

The model can be operated (i.e. by lighting the rear, left-hand side, internal walls, and roof) by pressing a button.


630 mm
530 mm


The model was made for ARUP by Micro Model, Beijing, China, in late 2007 and shipped to Australia early in 2008. It was kept by ARUP for office display during the Olympic games and delivered to the Museum in October 2008 and prepared for Museum display in December. The model's individual maker(s) is unknown.

The Museum's Interactives section designed, made, and installed the following: John Hirsch, electronics engineer (electronics for the two white panels that house the LED lights, and the electronic controller that regulates the lighting sequence); Geoff Drane, senior preparator (made the housing for the electronics and the lighting, carried out structural repairs on the model, and assembled various components); Krister Gustafsson, industrial designer (designed the acrylic showcase, lighting panels and associated electronics).


Gift of ARUP, 2010
25 May, 2010

Cite this Object

Beijing National Aquatics Centre 'Water Cube' construction model 2017, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 24 November 2017, <>
{{cite web |url= |title=Beijing National Aquatics Centre 'Water Cube' construction model |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=24 November 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
This object is currently on display at the Powerhouse Museum.
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