Beijing National Stadium (Bird’s Nest)

Capacity80 000
Country People's Republic of China
Inauguration 28.06.2008
Construction 12.2003 – 06.2008
Record attendance 91 000 (the opening of the Olympic Games, 08.08.2008)
Cost 423 mln $
Design Herzog & de Meuron, Arup Sport, China Architectural Design & Research Group


Beijing National Stadium – stadium description

International design competition was launched almost immediately afer Beijing has been selected as host city for 2008 Olympics. World's leading architects sent their ideas for the 100,000-seater stadium with retractable roof. A shortlist of 13 was created and of those the best were Herzog and de Meuron from Switzerland, along with partners from Arup Sport and Chinese CADG.

Their concept was based on putting the whole roof and facade structures outside, without decorative cladding. Why? Because the structure itself was the decoration – giant steel bows put together in a dynamic fashion resemlbed a bird's nest. And just as a nest the structure seems chaotic while at the same time being very strong. It consists of 4 segments that are almost identical and together create the huge steel ring weighing a massive 27,000 tons of steel. Because cost of steel started growing rapidly, organizers resigned from constructiing a retractable roof that was originally supposed to be hidden underneath the „nest”.

Cutting costs was also visible in the stands, which were reduced to 91,000 seats for Olympic Games and 80,000 permanent seating. The bowl remaind divided into three large rings encircling the pitch with an athletics track. Even though costs were cut, the price tag is still very high. Stadium that was feared to end up above $500 mln was built for $423 mln.

Though started in December 2003, works lasted for a long 4,5 years of labour. Last elements were installed in Spring and Summer 2008, weeks before the Olympics. As it turned out later, the fight against time earned the ground some flaws like paint falling of just two years after opening.



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