Soups and Stadiums

On September 23, 2011, in Beijing, Modern Architecture, More Places of Interest, by Jack Li

When people think of “Birds nest” , you would come to 2 conclusions: Birds Nest soup and the Birds Nest Stadium. I will be reviewing one these great Chinese classics, the Birds Nest Stadium, or the Beijing National Stadium as it is officially known as. A tour of Beijing is not complete without viewing this master piece of architecture than defined an entire Olympic games. All you need to do is hop on a subway from your Beijing hotel to the Olympic Park and see for yourself!



The main purpose of the Birds Nest stadium was to be the centrepiece for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and was used to hold the opening and closing ceremonies. The design for the stadium was constructed by Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Muron in April 2003. They claim that their design for the building was inspired by china ceramics and implementing steel beams so to hide the supports for the retractable roof, thus giving the stadium the appearance of a birds nest. Chief architect Li Xinggang stated with regards to the build, “China wanted to have something new for this very important stadium in an effort to design a stadium that is porus whilst also being a public vessel.” The ground was broken in December 2003 and was officially opened 28th June 2008. Overall, the stadium cost $423million USD to build and now a shopping mall and hotel have been built nearby in order to increase the use of the stadium.




The Birds Nest stadium was the centrepiece to the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing. Originally, the Guangdong Olympic Stadium was constructed in 2001 to help the city’s bid for the Olympic games. However it was felt that a new stadium should be built with a retractable roof and have low maintenance costs.

For the 2008 Olympics, a total of 11,028 athletes from 204 countries participated in 302 events in 28sports. Out of the 37 venues used for the games, 11 of there were pre-existing, 8 were temporary venues that were removed after the games and 12 were constructed specially for the Olympics. As well as this, 6 venues were host to the games outside of Beijing, two of these being newly constructed for this purpose.



After the Olympics

The Birds nest stadium has been home to variety of events after the Olympic games. On the first anniversary of the openingceremony, the stadium hosted a performance of the Puccinni Opera Turandot and was home to the 2009 Italian Supercup. The stadium was also meant to used to house the Beijing Guo’an football club but this was later withdrawn out of the embarrassment of using a stadium that seats over 90,000 spectators for a game that only brings a crowd based of around 10,000.

Despite the last of major events in the Bird’s nest calander, the stadium still seems to be profitable, drawing in 20,000 to 30,000 people a day for it’s tourist appeal. The venue costs $9m USD to maintain.

In November 2010, it was announced that the 2015 World Athletics Championships will be hosted at the Birds Nest Stadium.



The Beijing National Stadium is something that needs to be seen by anyone travelling to Beijing and is best to experience at night when it is all light up!


Jack Li

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