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Shanghai oriental sports center now complete

The complex - opening tomorrow - will be inaugurated with the 14th FINA world swimming championships. Constructed in under two and half years, the design is the result of an international competition held in 2008. Built on former brownfield land along the huangpu river, the facility consists of three individual buildings intended to accommodate a range of audiences, events and pools. The crisp white structures - each unique in size and form - are defined by broad, repetitious arches and triangular elements that project a sail-like aesthetic. The sinuous volumes - a hall stadium, natatorium and outdoor pool - are visually connected through a series of man-made ponds and islands. dictated by the shapes of the buildings, the calm and reflective water seeks to integrate the divided site, and alludes to a much more natural environment. Holding over 3,500 fixed seats (5,000 after the FIDA competition), the natatorium contains four pools, all arranged in a row. Designed to showcase multiple events simultaneously, the unit features two standard-sized pools,a diving pool and a leisure pool. The outdoor swimming complex is an open-air pavilion located on an artificial island. encircling a competition-size diving pool and diving towers, the skewed and exposed structure currently houses 2,000 fixed stadium seats, and is set to include anther 3,000 after event. The stadium hall has a crowd capacity of 14,000 and can be expanded to 18,000 through mobile seating. During the FINA championships, the building will be used for synchronized swimming events, and will later accommodate boxing matches, basketball games, concerts and ice-hockey.