The Bird’s Nest: Where Sports and Art Converge

An architectural masterpiece that embodies the spirit and culture of China

Green Olympic Village, in the Chaoyang District of Beijing, is home to China National Stadium, popularly known as Beijing Bird Nest Stadium or just Bird Nest. During the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008, this stadium was intended to serve as the major venue. Olympic occurrences such as football, American football, shot put and discus and many other games were held at the Beijing Bird’s Nest Stadium.

After October 2008 and the end of the Olympics, this building was used as a tourist attraction and opened to the public. Nowadays, this location serves as the hub for both domestic and international sporting events. In 2022, the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics was also held in this place.

Designers of Beijing Bird’s Nest Stadium

Chinese architect Li Xinggang and Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron collaborated to create this large stadium. The designers of this stadium did not include any extraneous details, and all of the stadium’s components are in use. For instance, the stadium has been maintained stable by the steel construction of the building, which is just exposed and has no cover. The Beijing Bird’s Nest Stadium’s form and appearance are extremely reminiscent of a big bird’s nest built to protect and nurture the human race. A human-designed nest. Moreover, it resembles a huge human infant cot.

Designers of Beijing Bird's Nest Stadium
Designers of Beijing Bird’s Nest Stadium


Understandably, constructing such a massive structure required a considerable sum of money. So from where did this expense come? Fourty-two percent of the project’s construction costs were covered by the investor group CTLC (China International Union, Beijing Municipal Group, and American Golden State Investment Corporation). Naturally, those responsible for covering this expense consented to do so in exchange for a 35-year return on investment guarantee. Also, like many municipalities, Beijing Municipality and Beijing Provincial Government used their budget funds to pay the remaining 58% of the capital.

Criteria for Building an Ideal Stadium

This stadium combines classic and modern design elements. It has a unique sound and video system, lighting, firework system, side spaces for culture and sanitation, and a very advanced lighting system that sets it apart from other sports stadiums across the globe.

This building’s development was motivated by the natural world. It has been referred to as the “bird’s nest” because of the twisting of the cut steel beams. Some Chinese claim that this stadium resembles a clay cup that has been covered in a net.

The design team was instructed to follow guidelines like making a beautiful building with balance and a welcoming ambiance surrounding it to provide every spectator an equitable and adequate perspective. The many purposes of the stadium have to be considered by the designers. Although internal vision is more crucial for a professional athlete. The middle of the line offers the finest views since it is closest to the running track, which is well-known to all football players.

Criteria for Building an Ideal Stadium
Criteria for Building an Ideal Stadium

The design team employed digital architecture as help to produce the desired design. This part of architecture requires software to be built because of its complexity and quantity, making manual design impossible. The complex’s beautiful geometry, air flow required to sustain the grass, exterior cover design, seismic resistance calculations, and cross-sections of bent steel beams are all fixed with regard to one another. As a result, the complex’s total volume and faรงade cover may be matched by the bends and turns of the bent steel beams.

Sizes and Dimensions of the Project

The building is 333 meters long, 284 meters wide, and 69.2 meters tall, has a total volume of three million cubic meters, and weighs 150 million tons. Taking a look at the stats demonstrates how impressive this project is. During the Olympic Games, the stadium could accommodate 91,000 people; thereafter, that number dropped to 80,000. With its enormous scope, this project had a price tag of 280 million pounds.

5-Year Stages of Work Progress

In late 2003, the stadium’s construction work started with the excavation of “one hundred thousand square meters” and the construction of the structure’s foundation. In March 2004, the work on the stadium’s main building started. In August 2004, the construction work was stopped due to its high cost. Designers were invited to change the design in such a way as to keep the original design and reduce costs.

In the new design, the roof of the stadium was completely removed, which made the hole in the stadium bigger. Specialists greatly believed in this method, which would construct the stadium more earthquake-resistant while also lowering building costs. The design changes made the total steel consumption decrease by 22.3% and the total facade coverage decreased by 13%. The construction of the building started once again in 2005. Therefore, the date of delivery of the complex and the opening of the stadium was postponed from 2006 to the beginning of 2008.

Happy Snow and Ice Season of the Bird's Nest Stadium
Happy Snow and Ice Season of the Bird’s Nest Stadium

Building Structure Design; Thousand-Ton Columns and 600-Meter Profiles

  1. Concrete core: The building is shaped like a concrete platform and is responsible for housing the spectators as well as moving and directing the stadium’s live load to the ground.
  2. Huge metal shell: The stadium has an irregular shape. It has eight sections, each of which maintains its stability, and twenty-four main columns, each of which weighs a thousand tons, arranged around this oval at regular intervals. Each of these columns is placed on a large truss whose task is to support the weight of the stadium shell and roof. Design changes reduced the thickness of the sheets used in the construction of the twenty-four columns of the trusses.

In fact, the structure of this huge shell is the same twenty-four columns and trusses, and other curved lines in the shell have been displayed only to complete the idea and the original plan of its architects. Each of these sections is built like a separate building. Some parts consist of more than 128 parts and the length of some of its profiles reaches 600 meters. This steel roof is 330 meters long, and 220 meters wide, and weighs 45,000 tons. It was designed and built in October 2006.

Among other features of the stadium is natural ventilation in the stadium. Special panels have been installed in the interior and exterior, the empty space between the two roof shells, and anywhere to adjust the flow of wind, air, and sunlight. In the thoughtful design of stadiums, the possibility of natural ventilation in the stadium is the most important.

Happy Snow and Ice Season of the Bird's Nest Stadium
Happy Snow and Ice Season of the Bird’s Nest Stadium

Happy Snow and Ice Season of the Bird’s Nest Stadium

Since 2008, this location has hosted the Happy Snow and Ice Festival (also known as the Beijing Ice and Snow Festival). From December until February of the following year, this festival takes place (from December to mid-March). During this time, the entire Beijing Bird’s Nest Stadium will become the largest ski area in the Beijing metropolitan area. A place where you can easily enter to ski. Tourists who visit this sports stadium during this period of time can participate in more than 30 types of recreation and winter sports, or it should be said that they have the right to choose.

For example, if you enter this gym, you can choose any of the winter sports such as ski jumping, ice skating, snow tubing, ice car riding, and snow skiing called biathlon. Along with you, children can participate in many winter sports and entertainment in indoor clubs, depending on their ability and age. Children can participate in canoeing or skiing in the designated area. The entrance price of these programs is 120 yuan on normal days and 160 yuan on weekends or holidays. Children under 1.2 meters in height are free to enter.

Special Facilities for Spectators

One of the most crucial factors considered when awarding hosting rights to nations nowadays is the stadium’s closeness to subway and bus stops. So that everyone in the audience may get where they’re going as fast, cheaply, and securely as feasible. Like in the case of the bird’s nest, this aspect has been taken into consideration, and access to the stadium is made simple by its close proximity to urban transit hubs.

Yet the audience also takes into account other welfare-related issues. Restaurants, suites, shops, and bathrooms are just a few of the Bird’s Nest Stadium’s comfort features. Stone fragments and even bamboo branches have been inserted in the area between the corridors for the green space guests to give the stadium a natural feel.

Special Facilities for Spectators
Special Facilities for Spectators

A Place to Attract Tourists

Following Beijing, this stadium was not utilized for sports for a time, and there were no reports of significant events taking place there. Yet, because of its construction and design, it is renowned as one of the prominent sports grounds and is always on the list of tourists visiting Beijing. It should be mentioned that two years after the Olympics, China held the Asian Games, and this stadium was equipped to hold this competition as well. Nevertheless, Guangzhou, China, was chosen as the location to host the 2010 Asian Games, with the competition taking place in its stadiums.

A Suitable Field for Foreigners

But the other source of income for the stadium is related to the meeting of foreign teams in this stadium. For example, Chelsea and Arsenal football teams will hold a preparatory meeting in China before the start of the English football season. These two teams will face each other on July 22 at the Bird’s Nest Stadium. Antonio Conte said in this regard: We are happy that we will go to China for this interesting match in the summer. In the tour before this season in America, I saw a lot of excitement and I am sure that such excitement will happen in China as well.

In this way, the construction of a standard building for sports competitions is not only a factor in earning money during competitions, but it can also help the country’s sports economy in various aspects in the future. What we lack in the sports of our country.

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