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Design Chosen for Swimming Center

A Sino-Australian joint plan was chosen as the design for the National Swimming Center, a major venue for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, according to an announcement Monday by the Beijing State-owned Asset Management Co. Ltd, which owns the center's rights.

The winning plan, which was designed by the China State Construction Engineering Corporation jointly with Australia's PTW Architects and Ove Arup Pty Ltd, garnered the "excellent" prize in the international design competition last month, together with two other designs in the contest.

The deal for the venue will be officially signed Tuesday at the Beijing Hotel between the designers and the State-owned Assets Management Company.

This will be the first venue among the 18 planned sports centers for the 2008 Games to have officially signed a design contract, sources said.

"The Sino-Australian design fully meets the requirements for swimming, diving, synchronized swimming and water polo competitions of the 2008 Games that are expected to be held at the aquatics center," said a press release by the State-owned assents management company.

Sources also said the winning design will be an attractive venue after the Olympics as well, capable of being adapted to a large-scale water entertainment and sports center for local residents.

Meanwhile, experts said the shape of the joint design, a box-like shape using transparent Teflon as the roof with "bubbles" inside, is in tune with the National Stadium, also located at the Olympic Green, whose design resembles a bird's nest.

With investment of 830 million yuan (US$100 million), the swimming center is scheduled to start construction by the end of this year and should be completed by 2006.

"We will do our utmost to build the center into a first-class Olympic venue after further optimizing the design," sources with the State-owned Assents Management Company reported.

Part of the center's investment was donated by overseas Chinese and compatriots in Taiwan and the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions.

Over 320 million yuan (US$39 million) worth of donations have been promised, but not all of it has been received.

(China Daily July 29, 2003)

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