Shanghai architect Zhao Xiaojun, who helped create the iconic bubble-clad Watercube, is reaping the rewards of Olympic glory thanks to the efforts of record breaking US swimmer.

Record-breaking winner Michael Phelps has turned a global spotlight on Beijing’s National Aquatics Centre. And for Zhao, the Olympic Games have brought very welcome attention. Speaking to news agency AFP, the 41 year-old architect said “People tell me it is a magic swimming pool because swimmers broke so many world records in these past few days.

Zhao’s company China Construction Design International teamed up with Australia’s PTW Architects and London-based engineers Arup to build the award-winning building.

Initially, the Australian architects suggested the building should have a wavy design, conveying the sense of water in motion, but after weeks of discussion Zhao’s team won the case for a Chinese reading of water: calm, serene and untroubled.

“It may not appear stunning at first sight, but if you take a second look, you will feel peace and a profound sense of beauty,” Zhao told AFP.

The environment inside was designed with swimmers in mind, from the air temperature to tiny bubbles in the pool to break surface tension and depth and gutters designed to reduce waves.

Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps has been dubbed the ‘greatest ever Olympian’ winning eight gold medals at the Beijing Games to add to seven in Athens four years ago.

China Construction Design International has grown has grown rapidly from 200 people five years ago to more than 1,800 today with revenues rising.

By staff writer