Watch this timelapse video below, showing the completion of the roof on the Olympic Aquatics Centre

Zaha Hadid’s wave-shaped Aquatics Centre roof has been lifted and lowered into place completing what was one of the most complex engineering and construction challenges of the Olympic Park.

The Aquatics Centre is on track to finish in summer 2011 ready for test events with the concrete dive pool also complete and work well under way on the two 50m competition and training pools.

Raising the roof
A huge 30m steel truss weighing over 70 tonnes was lifted into place on top of the southern wall and connected to ten steel trusses each made up of four sections which in total will span up to 120m to the two northern roof supports.

The steel trusses were fabricated in Newport from plate rolled in Gateshead, Motherwell and Scunthorpe, assembled on the Aquatics Centre site and connected together 20m off the ground on three rows of temporary support trestles.

Once the steel frame was complete it was lifted over a metre at its southern end, turning on rotating joints in the northern roof supports. The top of the temporary trestles was removed and the 160m long roof frame lowered on to its three permanent roof supports.

As the full weight of the roof rested on its supports is slid approximately 20cm into its joints on the southern wall. The roof has been designed to stretch, twist and contract in response to the effects of snow, wind and changing temperatures.

Temporary trestles, which have now all been removed, were taken out in phases to enable work to continue beneath the roof, including the digging out and concreting of the venue’s two 50 metre swimming pools and 25 metre diving pool.

Work will begin this autumn on the aluminium roof covering, half of which is recycled, and early next year installation will start on the timber cladding of the12,000 metre squared ceiling which will sweep outside to cover the northern roof supports. Red Lauro from sustainable sources has been selected as the ceiling timber that will combine the required level of durability and visual impact.

Work is well underway on the 250m and 45m wide land bridge that forms the main pedestrian entrance to the Games from the Stratford City development, spanning the Aquatics Centre and forming the roof of the training pool.

Timelapse video: Aquatics Centre roof lift