Water Cube to become Ice Cube for 2022 Winter Olympics

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The transformation project of the Beijing National Aquatics Center, a landmark of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, started Wednesday. Also known as the Water Cube, the venue is scheduled to complete reconstruction by July 2020, when the building will turn into the "Ice Cube" for the 2022 Winter Olympics. 

During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Water Cube hosted a range of water competitions such as swimming, diving, and synchronized swimming. After its transformation, the venue will house curling and wheelchair curling during the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.  

The Ice Cube will become the biggest curling venue in the history of the Winter Olympics. Curling is one of the winter sports that have the strictest venue requirements. Therefore, the project is challenging since it has to be completed on time while meeting the demands for the pre-match operation and test competitions. 

According to Yang Qiyong, general manager of the National Aquatics Center, the project will add the ice sports functions while preserving the water sports functions. Convertible structure and detachable ice-making system will be installed in the central part of the venue for the construction of the curling rink with four standard tracks. 

The transformation project will mainly focus on five parts to meet the requirements of the curling competition: convertible structure, temperature and humidity control, lighting, energy conservation, and architectural acoustics. The venue will be upgraded with a smart control system, which would control and monitor the temperature, humidity, lighting, and acoustics, and create a good environment for the competitions. 

After the transformation, the stadium will become the only venue in the world where both ice and water sports can be held simultaneously, setting an example for the long-term and recycled use of sports stadiums. 

Meanwhile, a new underground ice rink will be constructed in the south square of the aquatics center. The rink will first be used as the supporting facility during the Winter Olympics. After the Olympics, it will be open to local residents for winter sports training and activities, and play a key role in winter sports promotion. 

Among the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics venues, eight are reconstructed from existing facilities. Following the Water Cube, the transformation project of the National Stadium will also start at the end of this year. By then, the transformation projects of five venues planned for 2018 will have all started.

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