Essential Architecture- Beijing Olympics Architecture

Beijing National Stadium


Herzog & de Meuron collaborated with ArupSport and China Architecture Design & Research Group


Beijing / Peking, China








sports venue
  Construction work continues on the Bird's Nest Olympic stadium in Beijing, China
Photograph: Dan Chung
  The National Stadium for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games will be the main stadium for track and field events as well as the opening and closing ceremonies
Photograph: Dan Chung
  Designed by Pritzker-winning architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, the building was commissioned in 2002
  The "nest" is in fact a tightly woven lattice of steel. Photograph: AP
  A view of one of the interior walkways, suspended between the exoskeleton and the stadium's inside walls
Photograph: Iwan Baan
   Two workmen take a rest on one of the 100,000 seats. After the games are finished the stadium's capacity will be reduced to 85,000
Photograph: Iwan Baan

The Beijing National Stadium, also known as the National Stadium, or the "Bird's nest" for its architecture is a stadium that is being built on the Olympic Green in Beijing, China for March 2008 completion.

It will host the main track and field competitions for the 2008 Summer Olympics and as well as the opening and closing ceremonies. In 2002, Government officials engaged architects worldwide in a design competition. Pritzker Prize-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron collaborated with ArupSport and China Architecture Design & Research Group to win the competition. Contemporary Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei, is the Artistic Consultant for design.[2] The stadium will seat as many as 100,000 spectators during the Olympics, but this will be reduced to 80,000 after the games. It has replaced the original intended venue of the Guangdong Olympic Stadium[citation needed]. The stadium is 330 metres long by 220 metres wide, and is 69.2 metres tall. The 250,000 square metre (gross floor area) stadium is to be built with 36 km of unwrapped steel, with a combined weight of 45,000 tonnes. The stadium will cost up to 3.5 billion yuan (~423 million USD/ ~325 million EUR). The ground was broken in December 2003, and construction started in March 2004, but was halted by the high construction cost in August 2004 and continued again.

Upon completion, this stadium will boast a state of the art Solar PV system produced by Suntech Power.
After featuring the stunning “bubble building” being built for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, we felt it necessary to mention an equally-awesome structure under construction just across the way. Herzog and DeMeuron’s Olympic Stadium, fondly referred to by some as the “Bird’s Nest,” is a feat of engineering, an aesthetic marvel, and an uber-green machine to boot. What we love most about the stadium’s design is its integration of a myriad complex systems all rolled into such an aesthetically and conceptually simple and stunning object. The Swiss architects describe it best, saying, “The spatial effect of the stadium is novel and radical and yet simple and of an almost archaic immediacy. Its appearance is pure structure. Facade and structure are identical.”

The structure itself is composed of a grid-like formation that serves as both structure and facade, integrating the stairs, walls, and roof into one cohesive system. Instead of form being dictated by function, Herzog and DeMeuron’s design effectively removes the distinction, making function and form one in the same.
Such a large-scale and highly-trafficked building raises questions of waste, efficiency, and cost, but the “Bird’s Nest” seems to pose innovative, green solutions to a variety of potential building issues. Its green features include a rainwater collection system, a translucent roof that provides essential sunlight for the grass below, and a natural, passive ventilation system.
Perhaps the most unique feature of the structure is its “cushion” system which strategically fills the spaces within the building’s facade to regulate wind, weather, and sunlight. On the rooftop, the inflatable cushions fill gaps to weather- and waterproof the stadium. “Just as birds stuff the spaces between the woven twigs of their nests with a soft filler, the spaces in the structure of the stadium will be filled with inflated cushions.” Coincidentally, the cushions will be made from ETFE, the same material used to create the translucency of the “bubble building” across the Olympic park.
Sculptural rather than an architectural sensory overload like many a contemporary stadium, “it meets all the functional and technical requirements of an Olympic National Stadium, but without communicating the insistent sameness of technocratic architecture dominated by large spans and digital screens.”

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