June 26 - Work on erecting the wave-shaped roof for the London 2012 £251 million Aquatics Centre has reached half-way, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) revealed today.
The lift of the 160 metre long 2,800 tonne roof started just three months ago and is considered one of the most complex engineering and construction challenges of the Olympic Park ‘big build’.
The roof frame, built with steel fabricated in Newport and assembled on site on just three concrete supports, is on track to be completed this summer.
The Zaha Hadid-designed Aquatics Centre will be the gateway to the Olympic Park and in legacy will provide two 50 metre swimming pools, a diving pool and dry diving area - facilities London does not have at present.
David Higgins, the chief executive of the ODA, said: “Work on the Aquatics Centre is on track and the sweeping roof that will form the ‘Gateway to the Games’ is taking shape in the skyline alongside the Olympic Stadium.
“The big lift one of the toughest construction and engineering challenges on the Olympic Park.
"It is showcasing the world class expertise delivering the venues and infrastructure for London 2012 and regenerating east London for future generations.”
Sebastian Coe, the chairman of London 2012, said: “The Aquatics Centre is going to be a spectacular venue for the Games in 2012 and its iconic roof will be a fantastic addition to the east London skyline.
"At Games-time, I personally hope it will be the scene of further success for Team GB, but just as importantly I look forward to London at last having a state of the art aquatics facility for elite and community use for decades to come. Progress has been impressive, but the long term significance of this venue is something really quite special.”
When complete the 160m long column-free and up to 90m wide roof will rest on two concrete supports at the northern end and a 28m long and 5m wide, supporting ‘wall’ at its southern end.
A huge 30m steel truss weighing over 70 tonnes has been lifted into place on top of the southern wall and this been connected to ten steel trusses each made up of four sections each which in total will span up to 120m to the two northern roof supports.
Steel trusses fabricated in Newport from plate rolled in Gateshead, Motherwell and Scunthorpe, are being assembled on the Aquatics Centre site and connected together 20m off the ground on three rows of temporary support trestles.
Twenty six trusses are in place and once the huge steel roof frame is complete this summer it will be lifted up to two metres at its southern end, turning on complex rotating joints in the northern roof supports.
The temporary trestles will be removed and the 160m long roof frame lowered on to its three permanent roof supports, which have been built with over 20,000 tonnes of concrete.
As the full weight of the roof rests on its supports it will slide approximately 20cm into its joints on the southern wall.
The roof has been designed, through wind tunnel testing and computer modelling, to stretch, twist and contract in response to the effects of snow, wind and changing temperatures.
Once the steel roof is in place this summer work will begin on the aluminium roof covering.
Installation will then start next year on the timber cladding of the ceiling which will sweep outside to cover the northern roof supports.
The foundations of the permanent venue are complete and work will begin on the pool structure once the steel roof is complete.