API, Radian Verify Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics “Ice Cube” Curling Venue

19 July 2023 · 4 min read

Who could you share this with?

Laser Tracker provides precision measurement for green transition of 2008 Summer “Water Cube”

Green Olympics and Green Venues

When the beautiful and solemn “Olympic Hymn” resounds above the stadium, the Olympic stage displays humankind’s unremitting pursuit of “higher, faster and stronger.” Through hard training, experience, and continuous innovation, athletes continue to break through barriers, into new fields, with higher standards of performance.

In the Olympic Games, however, the breakthroughs are not only on the field of play. They are also found in the organization of the games: infrastructure, cultural exchanges, and green themes like sustainable development. The multi-functional transformation and sustainable utilization of past venues is very consistent with the concept of green development.

From “Water Cube” to “Ice Cube”

The Chinese National Aquatics Center, also known as the “Water Cube”, and the national stadium “Bird’s Nest” reside on either side of the northern tip of the central axis of Beijing city. The Water Cube is the world’s largest natatorium, designed as the 2008 summer Olympic Games aquatics arena, for swimming, diving, water polo, etc. During the 2008 summer Olympics, 25 world records were set in the Water Cube.

In preparation for the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, the Water Cube will be converted into the “Ice Cube”, where curling events will take place. Under this plan, the Water Cube will be the world’s first multi-functional aquatics center for both summer and winter athletic events.

Construction Requirements and Technical Difficulties

In order to facilitate the rapid conversion between water and ice, the builders originally created a high strength adjustable steel frame at the bottom of the pool, and then precast concrete slabs are laid on the steel frame. Then ice is laid on the concrete slab. In this way, the “water and ice” of the venues can be rapidly converted and continuously utilized, which fully conforms to the concept of sustainable development and a green Olympics.

As a curling competition venue, the smoothness of the ice surface is very strict. In curling, even a small fluctuation of the ice surface can have dramatic effects on the curling stones, the athletes, and the outcome of the match itself.

The ice will be placed on a support surface made up of 1,568 precast concrete slabs that must be no more than 3mm apart each other. Outside of that tolerance, there will be flatness errors. Such a tolerance requirement, for an overall area of more than 1250 square meters of the combined plane, requires high precision measurement equipment.

API Solution

For the conversion of the Ice Cube, API’s Radian Laser Trackers are being used for the flatness inspection of the concrete slabs. API has developed a rapid inspection, guidance, and adjustment solution based the needs of the project.

API is the inventor and manufacturer of Laser Tracker and has spent more than three decades developing and improving Laser Tracker measurement technology. API provides precision measurement solutions and services globally for manufacturers across every industry.

In this case, the measurement engineer is using a Radian Laser Tracker to measure points on each concrete slab. Through the position of a number of reference points on each concrete slab, the plane position and the deviation of each point are calculated in the software, and the deviation value is used to guide the adjustments to the position of each concrete slab.

The Radian Laser Tracker series takes high accuracy measurements to within a handful of microns and has a measurement circumference of more than 160 meters, easily meeting the project’s needs for the height difference between slabs, throughout the total area.

The Recognition from the Olympics

API is proud to once again provide precision measurement solutions to help ensure the facilities made for the Olympics have been made to the highest possible accuracies. In fact, in the run-up to the 2008 Summer Olympics, API had the honor to provide a solution for the shape inspection and installation and positioning of steel structures for the National Stadium “Bird’s Nest” in China. API is honored to be recognized and trusted by the Olympics.

Chinese National Aquatics “Water Cube”

Engineer uses the Radian Laser Tracker to measure the points on the surface on the concrete slabs. Picture taken from China Central Television broadcasting “Big Country Construction” the sixth episode.

the Data collected by the laser tracker is recorded and analyzed in the software. Picture taken from China Central Television broadcasting “Big Country Construction” the sixth episode.

Concrete Plate adjustment guidance by using Radian Laser Tracker. Picture taken from China Central Television broadcasting “Big Country Construction” the sixth episode.

API T3 Laser Tracker “Birds Nest” steel structure positioning and guidance.

Know anyone who would value reading this article too?
Why not share it with them!

Featured API Metrology Videos


Our Expert team of Real Metrologists are Globally-Local, available for measurements both at your site and in our A2LA accredited calibration labs. They can assist with everything from equipment purchases and rentals to customer support to contract service work.