Beijing’s $500-million Olympic stadium opens its doors to the media. Finishing touches are still being added to the 91000 seat venue.
Bird’s Nest, as it has been nicknamed, cost more than 500 million US Dollars and took fours years to build. It is called ‘Bird’s Nest’ due to the structural form of its roof. The interwoven structural elements of the facade produce a single surface, upon which further elements are arranged in a chaotic manner to blur the distinction between the primary structure and the secondary structure. The roof is saddle-shaped, and the geometry is developed from a base ellipse of which the major and minor axes are 313 meters and 266 meters respectively. The outer surface of the facade is inclined at approximately 13° to the vertical.
The opening ceremony for the Olympics will be held in this seven- level stadium on August 9, 2008. The stadium will host the main track and field competitions for the 2008 Summer Olympics, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies. It is located right next to the Beijing National Aquatics Centre.
The construction of this stadium started in March of 2004 after a ground breaking ceremony on Christmas Eve of December 2003. In 2002 Government Officials in China invited architects worldwide for a design competition which was won by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron.
Contemporary Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei, is the Artistic Consultant for design.
Work did stop in between due to very high construction costs. It has not been easy. Almost 10 people were reported to have died during construction which lead to lot of political controversy.
Some Interesting FACTS:
- 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 as temporary seating will be removed then.
- It has replaced the original intended venue of the Guangdong Olympic Stadium.
- The stadium is 330 metres long by 220 meters wide, and is 69.2 meters tall.
- The stadium uses 258,000 square meters of space and has a usable area of 204,000 square meters.
- It was built with 36 km of unwrapped steel, with a combined weight of 45,000 tonnes.
- The stadium has some 11,000 square meters of underground rooms with waterproof walls.
- The stadium will cost up to 3.5 billion yuan (≈423 million USD).
- Upon completion, this stadium will boast a state of the art Solar PV system produced by Suntech Power.