- Beijing National Stadium
National Stadium Bird's Nest Full name National Stadium Location Beijing, China Broke ground 24 December 2003 Opened 28 June 2008 Surface Grass Construction cost US$423 million
($432 million in 2011 dollars)
Architect Herzog & de Meuron
China Architectural Design & Research Group
Ai Weiwei (Artistic consultant)
Structural engineer Arup Capacity 80,000
91,000 (2008 Olympics)
Tenants 2008 Summer Olympics
2009 Supercoppa Italiana
2011 Supercoppa Italiana
2015 World Championships in Athletics
Beijing National Stadium Simplified Chinese 北京国家体育场 Traditional Chinese 北京國家體育場 Transcriptions Mandarin - Hanyu Pinyin Běijīng Guójiā Tǐyùchǎng - Wade–Giles Pei3ching1 Kuo1chia1 T'i3yü4ch'ang3 - IPA [pèɪtɕíŋ kwɔ̌tɕjá tʰɨ̀ŷtʂʰɑ̀ŋ] Alternative Chinese name Simplified Chinese 鸟巢 Traditional Chinese 鳥巢 Transcriptions Mandarin - Hanyu Pinyin Niǎo Cháo - Wade–Giles Niao3 Ch'ao2
Beijing National Stadium, also known officially as the National Stadium, or colloquially as the Bird's Nest (鸟巢), is a stadium in Beijing, China. The stadium was designed for use throughout the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.
Located in the Olympic Green, the stadium cost US$423 million. The design was awarded to a submission from the Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron in April 2003 after a bidding process that included 13 final submissions. The design, which originated from the study of Chinese ceramics, implemented steel beams in order to hide supports for the retractable roof; giving the stadium the appearance of a "Bird's nest". Leading Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was the artistic consultant on the project. The retractable roof was later removed from the design after inspiring the stadium's most recognizable aspect. Ground was broken in 24 December 2003 and the stadium officially opened in 28 June 2008. A shopping mall and a hotel are planned to be constructed to increase use of the stadium, which has had trouble attracting events, football and otherwise, after the Olympics.
In 2001, before Beijing had been awarded the right to host the 2008 Summer Olympics, the city held a bidding process to select the best arena design. Multiple requirements including the ability for post-Olympics use, a retractable roof, and low maintenance costs, were required of each design. The entry list was narrowed to thirteen final designs. Of the final thirteen, Li Xinggang of China Architecture Design and Research Group (CADG), said after he placed the model of the "nest" proposal at the exhibition hall and saw the rival entries he thought to himself, "We will win this." The model was approved by as the top design by a professional panel; however, it was later exhibited for the public. Once again, it was selected as the top design. The "nest scheme" design became official in April 2003.
Design and construction
Beijing National Stadium (BNS) was a joint venture among architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron of Herzog & de Meuron, project architect Stefan Marbach, artist Ai Weiwei, and CADG which was led by chief architect Li Xinggang. During their first meeting in 2003, at Basel, the group decided to do something unlike Herzog and de Meuron had traditionally designed. "China wanted to have something new for this very important stadium," Li stated. In an effort to design a stadium that was "porous" while also being "a collective building, a public vessel", the team studied Chinese ceramics. This line of thought brought the team to the "nest scheme". The stadium consists of two independent structures, standing 50 feet apart: a red concrete seating bowl and the outer steel frame around it.
In an attempt to hide steel supports for the retractable roof, required in the bidding process, the team developed the "random-looking additional steel" to blend the supports into the rest of the stadium. Twenty-four trussed columns encase the inner bowl, each one weighing 1,000 tons. Despite random appearance, each half of the stadium is nearly identical. After a collapse of a roof at the Charles de Gaulle International Airport, Beijing reviewed all major projects. It was decided to eliminate the retractable roof, the original inspiration for the "nest" design, as well as 9,000 seats from the design. The removal of the elements helped to bring the project under the reduced construction budget of $290 million, from an original $500 million. With the removal of the retractable roof, the building was lightened, which helped it stand up to seismic activity; however, the upper section of the roof was altered to protect fans from weather. Due to the stadium's outward appearance, it was nicknamed "The Bird's Nest". The phrase was first used by Herzog & de Meuron, though the pair still believes "there should be many ways of perceiving a building." The use is a compliment Li explained, "In China, a bird's nest is very expensive, something you eat on special occasions."
Ground was broken, at the Olympic Green, for Beijing National Stadium on 24 December 2003. At its height, 17,000 construction workers worked on the stadium. Portraits of 143 migrant workers at the construction site were featured in the book Workers (Gong Ren) by artist Helen Couchman. In 1 January 2008, The Times reported that 10 workers had died throughout construction; despite denial from the Chinese government. However, in a story the following week, Reuters, with the support of the Chinese government, reported that only two workers had died. All 110,000 tons of steel were made in China. On 14 May 2008 the grass field of 7,811 square meters was laid in 24 hours. The field is a modular turf system by GreenTech ITM. Beijing National Stadium officially opened at a ceremony on 28 June 2008.
Features and events
The eastern and western stands of Beijing National Stadium are higher than northern and southern stands, in order to improve sightlines. A 24-hour per day rainwater collector is located near the stadium; after water is purified, it is used throughout and around the stadium. Pipes placed under the playing surface gather heat in the winter to warm the stadium and coldness in the summer to cool the stadium. The stadium's design originally called for a capacity of 100,000 people; however 9,000 were removed during a simplification of the design. The new total of 91,000 would be shaved further when 11,000 temporary seats were removed after the 2008 Olympics; bringing the stadium's capacity to 80,000. The farthest seat is 460 feet (140 metres) from center field. Temperature and airflow of every surface were optimized to increase ventilation.
Beijing National Stadium hosted the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, athletic events, and football final of the 2008 Summer Olympics from 8 August to 24 August 2008. The stadium also hosted the Opening and Closing ceremonies and athletic events of the 2008 Summer Paralympics from 6 September to 17 September 2008. Though designed for track & field events of the Olympics, the stadium will continue to host sporting events, such as football, afterwards. A shopping mall and a hotel, with rooms overlooking the field, are planned to help increase use after the Olympics. Li stated, "This will become the most important public space in Beijing."
On the first anniversary, 8 August 2009, the stadium hosted a performance of the opera Turandot, and the 2009 Supercoppa Italiana (Italian Super Cup) final, the traditional curtain raiser to the Italian football league season. The Beijing Guo’an football club was scheduled to play at the stadium, but later backed out of their agreement, citing the embarrassment of using an 80,000+ seat venue for games that routinely draw only slightly more than 10,000.
On 12 January 2009 the venue's owners announced plans for the stadium to anchor a shopping and entertainment complex. These plans, being developed by operator Citic Group, are projected to take three to five years to achieve. The stadium will also continue to function as a tourism attraction, while seeking sports and entertainment events. 
The stadium hosted the 2009 Race of Champions. In July 2010, the stadium hosted a friendly football match between Premier League team Birmingham City and Chinese side Beijing Guoan as a part of Birmingham's pre-season trip to China, the homeland of the clubs owner Carson Yeung. Birmingham City recorded a 1-0 victory in the game.
In spite of the lack of significant events, the stadium appears to be quite profitable, drawing some 20,000 to 30,000 people a day at the price of a 50 yuan admission. Recently it has been used as a snow theme park. The venue costs approximately $9 million to maintain per year. Due to a lack of use, paint is already peeling in some areas.
In August of 2011, the Bird's Nest once again hosted the Supercoppa Italiana, the stadium's second in three years.
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1896: Marathon (city), Panathinaiko Stadium • 1900: Croix-Catelan Stadium • 1904: Francis Field • 1908: White City Stadium • 1912: Stockholm Olympic Stadium • 1920: Olympisch Stadion • 1924: Stade de Colombes • 1928: Olympic Stadium • 1932: Olympic Stadium, Riverside Drive at Griffith Park • 1936: Avus Motor Road, Olympic Stadium • 1948: Empire Stadium • 1952: Olympic Stadium • 1956: Melbourne Cricket Ground • 1960: Arch of Constantine, Raccordo Anulare, Stadio Olimpico, Via Appia Antica, Via Cristoforo Colombo • 1964: Fuchu City, Karasuyama-machi, National Stadium, Sasazuka-machi, Shinjuku • 1968: Estadio Olímpico Universitario, Zócalo • 1972: Olympiastadion • 1976: Montreal Botanical Garden, Olympic Stadium, Streets of Montreal • 1980: Grand Arena, Streets of Moscow • 1984: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Santa Monica College, Streets of Los Angeles, Streets of Santa Monica • 1988: Olympic Stadium, Streets of Seoul • 1992: Estadi Olímpic de Monjuïc, Marathon course, Mataró, Walking course • 1996: Marathon course, Olympic Stadium, Walking course • 2000: Marathon course, North Sydney, Olympic Stadium • 2004: Marathon (city), Olympic Stadium, Panathinaiko Stadium, Stadium at Olympia • 2008: Beijing National Stadium • 2012: Marathon Course, Olympic Stadium • 2016: Flamengo Park, João Havelange Stadium, Sambódromo
- Pasternack, Alex; Clifford A. Pearson (July 2008). "National Stadium". Architectural Record: 92–9. http://archrecord.construction.com/projects/portfolio/archives/0807nationalstadium-1.asp. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
List of Olympic venues in football1900: Vélodrome de Vincennes · 1904: Francis Field · 1908: White City Stadium · 1912: Råsunda Stadium, Stockholm Olympic Stadium (final), Traneberg · 1920: Jules Ottenstadion, Olympisch Stadion (final), Stade Joseph Marien, Stadion Broodstraat · 1924: Stade Bergeyre, Stade de Colombes (final), Stade de Paris, Stade Pershing · 1928: Monnikenhuize, Olympic Stadium (final), Sparta Stadion Het Kasteel · 1936: Hertha-BSC Field, Mommsenstadion, Olympic Stadium (final), Poststadion · 1948: Arsenal Stadium, Champion Hill, Craven Cottage, Cricklefield Stadium, Empire Stadium (medal matches), Green Pond Road, Griffin Park, Selhurst Park, White Hart Lane · 1952: Helsinki Football Grounds, Kotka, Lahti, Olympic Stadium (final), Tampere, Turku · 1956: Melbourne Cricket Ground (final), Olympic Park Stadium · 1960: Florence Communal Stadium, Grosseto Communal Stadium, L'Aquila Communal Stadium, Livorno Ardenza Stadium, Naples Saint Paul's Stadium, Pescara Adriatic Stadium, Stadio Flaminio (final) · 1964: Komazawa Olympic Park Stadium, Mitsuzawa Football Field, Osaka Nagai Stadium, Tokyo National Stadium (final), Nishikyogoku Athletic Stadium, Ōmiya Football Field, Prince Chichiba Memorial Football Field · 1968: Estadio Azteca (final), Estadio Cuauhtémoc, Estadio Nou Camp, Jalisco Stadium · 1972: Drei Flüsse Stadion, ESV-Stadion, Jahnstadion, Olympiastadion (final), Rosenaustadion, Urban Stadium · 1976: Lansdowne Park, Olympic Stadium (final), Sherbrooke Stadium, Varsity Stadium · 1980: Dynama Stadium, Dynamo Central Stadium, Grand Arena, Grand Arena (final), Kirov Stadium, Republican Stadium · 1984: Harvard Stadium, Navy – Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Rose Bowl (final), Stanford Stadium · 1988: Buson Stadium, Daegu Stadium, Daejeon Stadium, Dongdaemun Stadium, Olympic Stadium (final) · 1992: Estadi de la Nova Creu Alta, Estadi del FC Barcelona (final), Estadio Luís Casanova, La Romareda, RCD Espanyol Stadium · 1996: Florida Citrus Bowl, Legion Field, Orange Bowl, RFK Memorial Stadium, Sanford Stadium (final) · 2000: Brisbane Cricket Ground, Bruce Stadium, Hindmarsh Stadium, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Olympic Stadium (men's final), Sydney Football Stadium (women's final) · 2004: Kaftanzoglio Stadium, Karaiskakis Stadium, Olympic Stadium (final), Pampeloponnisiako Stadium, Pankritio Stadium, Panthessaliko Stadium · 2008: Beijing National Stadium (final), Qinhuangdao Olympic Sports Center Stadium, Shanghai Stadium, Shenyang Olympic Sports Center Stadium, Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium, Workers Stadium · 2012: City of Coventry Stadium, Hampden Park, Millennium Stadium, St James' Park, Wembley Stadium (final) · 2016: Brasília National Stadium, Fonte Nova, Maracanã (final), Mineirão, Morumbi Summer Olympic stadiaAthens 1896 • Paris 1900 • St Louis 1904 • London 1908 • Stockholm 1912 • Antwerp 1920 • Paris 1924 • Amsterdam 1928 • Los Angeles 1932 • Berlin 1936 • London 1948 • Helsinki 1952 • Melbourne 1956 • Rome 1960 • Tokyo 1964 • México City 1968 • Munich 1972 • Montréal 1976 • Moscow 1980 • Los Angeles 1984 • Seoul 1988 • Barcelona 1992 • Atlanta 1996 • Sydney 2000 • Athens 2004 • Beijing 2008 • London 2012 • Rio de Janeiro 2016 Notable buildings and structures in Beijing from the modern eraBeijing National Stadium · Beijing National Aquatics Centre · Beijing National Indoor Stadium · Beijing Railway Station · CCTV Headquarters · CCTV Tower · The China World Trade Center · Diaoyutai State Guesthouse · Great Hall of the People · Mausoleum of Mao Zedong · Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution · Monument to the People's Heroes · National Centre for the Performing Arts · National Library of China · National Museum of China · National Art Museum of China · Workers Stadium · Workers Indoor Arena
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