Bird’s Nest

Construction year: 2008
Address: Beijing Olympic Green | BEIJING | China
Latitude/Longitude: 39.9929, 116.396

The National Stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies of the 29th Olympiad, as well as athletic track and field events. On completion, it will have a capacity of 91 000 seats, including 11 000 temporary seats for the duration of the Games.

The Stadium is located in the Olympic Green, the focal point for the Beijing Games. The building s vast scale and dramatic form will create a new icon for China and the City of Beijing. The circular form of the Stadium represents Heaven, while the adjacent square form of the National Aquatics Centre, also design-engineered by Arup, is a reflection of the Chinese symbol for Earth.

Although the structural form of the Stadium is popularly described as a –bird s nest-, the pattern was initially inspired by Chinese style –crazed- pottery, typically found in Beijing markets, and the randomness of the natural world. Although seemingly arbitrary, the pattern abides by complex rules from which ArupSport was able to define the geometry. Without this, the Stadium would be impossible to build.

To reduce costs, the outside of the Stadium needed to have minimum surface area while also being able to contain the entire structure, therefore, ArupSport designed the seating bowl first and then the outside façade to wrap around it. The bowl is designed to optimise spectator sight lines and minimise distance between seats and the field where action takes place.

The Stadium is located in one of the world s most seismic zones and therefore needs to withstand major earthquakes. ArupSport used advanced computer analysis to test the structure under earthquake of different intensity and direction.

The National Stadium is designed in such a way that the spectator will be left wondering which aspects of the structure are functional and which have been included for appearance alone. The Stadium combines a sense of chaos with one of order.

⇒ Architecture Guide to BEIJING
⇒ Learn more about: