While the world has been transfixed and astonished by the failures of the maintenance staff at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium, the technical achievement embodied by the stadium itself has gone relatively unnoticed. It is a truly innovative venue.
The building itself was constructed using "nomadic" architecture, meaning after the games are over it will be taken down and rebuilt as two smaller venues. The stadium also makes use of a highly innovative ventilation system that features 15,000 strategically placed small holes that allow for evenly distributed airflow. Without the ventilation system, the Brazilian government says the stadium would have required the equivalent of air conditioning for 10,000 homes.
The venue has a capacity of 14,997, with the front row seats as close as 10 meters from the water. The outer walls are decorated with a work of art by Brazilian artist Adrianna Varejao comprised of 66 panels, each 27 meters high, covered in Portuguese tile mosaics. The work is a reproduction of Celacanto Provoca Maremoto, an epic installation at the famous Inhotim Institute in Minas Gerais. The panels are UV treated to further help regulate inside temperatures.
The stadium features two pools, one for competition and another for training. Each pool contains 3.7 million liters of water.
A second, smaller venue, the Maria Lenk Aquatic Centre, which was originally built for the 2007 Pan American Games, will host early aquatic events.