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PTW Architects' design for the National Swimming Center in Beijing, known as The Watercube, is one of the most extraordinary buildings I've seen in a long time - even more so than the elegant and innovative Olympic Stadium by Herzog + DeMeuron (pictured top.)

"It appears random and playful like a natural system, yet is mathematically very rigorous and repetitious. The transparency of water, with the mystery of the bubble system, engages those both inside and out of the structure to consider their own experiences with water", said PTW Director Andrew Frost.

The building's skin, made from an innovative and lightweight transparent 'teflon', abbreviated as etfe, has been designed to react specifically to lighting and projection - and particularly the advanced systems which will become available in the coming four years - to create a stunning visual and sensory experience that will also be shared by millions of television viewers around the world. this state-of-the-art material provides a cost effective cladding solution for modern architecture, enabling a wide range of applications where traditional materials, such as glass, may not be possible.

More images at Archinect.

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