London unveils £75m 'stingray' design

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The Independent Online

A stunning, stingray-shaped swimming complex which will straddle the entrance to the 2012 Olympics Park was unveiled by the eminent architect Zaha Hadid yesterday.

The 2012 aquatics centre will comprise two 50-metre swimming pools and a diving pool under a dramatically undulating glass and steel roof, which has been scaled down to save costs. The unveiling of the first design of one of the marquee venues has been overshadowed, however, by a row over finances.

Hadid's initial submissions a year ago were rejected as too elaborate and expensive by the Olympics minister, Tessa Jowell, and the architect produced a scaled-down version more suited to the £75m budget.

The roof of the new aquatics centre is 60 per cent smaller than the original, producing significant cost savings on steel, which has forced up 2012 costs by doubling in price. One roof,or "wave" - which was to have covered the water polo area - has been scrapped.

The price for the job will be made public after a building contractor has been appointed next year, with the project due for completion in 2011.

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