Architect Zaha Hadid joined the London Architectural Association in 1972 and stunned the architectural world with her inspired but expectantly impossible building designs. Until recently, many of her buildings included difficult interior and exterior elements that were only possible on paper. As described in an article by Vanity Fair in 2008, “Many of her schemes remained on the drawing board for years, until the building professions could catch up with her prodigious imagination.”
Thanks to material and design technology advances, her buildings are now achievable and in huge demand. Most importantly for the growing fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) industry, Hadid used composite FRP molds and advanced reinforced concrete to build the well-received Olympic Aquatic Centre in London, promoting the use of advanced reinforced materials in modern architecture.
The London Aquatic Centre is massive concrete structure located outside Stratford Gate, the main Olympic tube station. The indoor swimming facility was originally designed to be a temporary structure to hold over 17,500 spectators during the 2012 Olympic swimming and diving events.
London received an overwhelmingly positive public response to the Aquatic Centre and several compliments from swimmers like three-time U.S. Olympian Troy Dumais. “Pools have their own uniqueness, design and engineering to depict culture, history or innovation. This captured all of them,” said Dumais. “These are phenomenal facilities. We don’t often get to see things like this and sometimes it can be overwhelming and mythical, and it can throw you out of your routine.” The city of London decided to keep the building after the Olympics to future hold local swimming competitions.