Friday, May 23, 2008

After A Cube, Some Water (in February)

...A Nest, Some Birds (In May)

After our trip to the Water Cube at the beginning of the year for the Good Luck Beijing, we took the chance to go see up close and personal the new National Stadium (北京国家体育场 - Bei3jing1 guo2jia1 ti3yu4chang3) aka Bird’s Nest, for the latest Good Luck Beijing 2008 of the “China Athletics Open”. All together 932 athletes (154 from abroad and 799 from China) from 14 countries and regions were competing in 42 Olympic events and 4 Para Olympic events.

We were a lot more impressed by the Stadium than by the National Aquatics Center. The intriguing network of the steel supports is fascinating and the use of bright red color makes a nice impact.

The design competition held in 2002 was won by Swiss-based architects Herzog and de Meuron who collaborated with ArupSport and China Architecture Design & Research Group. The ground was broken on Christmas Eve December 2003, and construction started in March 2004.

And now a few statistics: the stadium can seat as many as 91,000 spectators during the Olympics. The capacity will then be reduced to 80,000 after the Games. The stadium is 330 meters long by 220 meters wide, and is 69.2 meters tall (258,000 square meters). It was built with 36 km of unwrapped steel, with a combined weight of 45,000 tonnes. The stadium is said to have cost 3.5 billion yuan (≈$423 million).

The stadium will host the main track and field competitions, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.

Photo Xinhua