Zaha Hadid’s Swimming Pool: “Stonking”

Hadid’s original design for the Olympic Aquatic Center. (Adjustments needed to accommodate additional crowds will block the glass sides unfortunately.) Like Saarinen’s wonderful TWA terminal, it’s ready to take flight.

We’ll be seeing a lot more of it once the Olympics are underway, and, like the Beijing aquatic venue, it’s stunning. Nice review by Rowan Moore at the Guardian (including candor about the compromises).


It is impressive because it is big, and purposeful, and will contain large crowds, but also because the architecture rises to the occasion. The architects’ moves are confident and equal to the scale of the place. They don’t fumble or tinker. More than that, the interior has a feeling of wholeness. It feels moulded or carved, not assembled. It looks like a body more than something constructed out of pieces.

Architecture, for her, is something that should make its presence felt, intervene, change things, perhaps get in the way. Her style seems to be about dynamism and weightless modernity, but her buildings are actually massive. They are slow, not fast. They reflect an old idea, common to Palladio and Le Corbusier, that architects sculpt and shape and compose.

And “stonking”? British slang for awesome.

Interior pictures at Design Boom

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