Olympic Aquatics Centre opens on time ahead of Paris 2024 Games

The Olympic Aquatics Centre, one of just two new facilities constructed in the Paris region for the 2024 Olympics, was inaugurated Thursday, signaling its readiness as the Games approach.

Equipped with over 4,000 solar panels, the center’s design aids in heating pool water to 27 degrees Celsius (80.6 degrees Fahrenheit), according to architect Laure Meriaud. The building’s concave wooden beam structure also efficiently limits the space requiring heating and ventilation, Meriaud explained as quoted by Reuters.

Featuring 5,000 seats for spectators, including 2,000 removable ones, the venue is set to host artistic swimming and diving competitions, along with the water polo tournament’s qualifying rounds.

The center’s pool, which holds more than 5,500 cubic meters (194,231 cubic feet) of water, was initially filled in mid-December 2023. Following several tests, it was permanently filled in February.

Marked as the most costly project for the Paris Olympics, the facility’s budget stands at 151 million euros ($162 million).

The formal handover to the Paris 2024 organizers took place on April 4, during the center’s inauguration ceremony. Tony Estanguet, head of Paris 2024, received the keys in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron.

While the site is officially open, minor work, including cleaning and final touches, is still underway to ensure full readiness.