Beijing National Stadium is a mega structure whose construction began in 2003 and ended in 2008 shortly before the Olympic Games. It was designed to showcase the Chinese innovativeness and modern lifestyle with unmatched creativity in stadia design. Due to the ingenious design, the stadium has been the ‘Bird’s Nest’ because of the appearance of the exterior that is porous but takes all elements of weather into consideration when sheltering visitors.
The circular shape of the structure is a symbol of Heaven and the whole structure is inspired by the idea of crazed poetry prevalent in Chinese traditional folklore. The unique architectural design was a product of many design submissions in a competition that comprised the world’s best architect. The Bird’s nest won because of its exclusivity and the value of a bird’s nest in Chinese culture. It symbolized a rare part of every local’s diet that is expensive to feast on and is therefore regarded as a gem of a treat. The steel beams used in construction weigh 1000 tons each for a total of 110000 tons and look like they do not have geometrical positioning though this is not the case. Incorporated in the structure are seismic tested and engineered designs that ensure that with the high levels of activity in the crust of the earth beneath this region, the stadium can withstand the shock waves associated with ground movement when need arises. The field and the structure are built on separate platforms but are very close allowing for a minimal separation of only 50 feet.
The National Stadium has a seating capacity of 80,000 that have been reduced from as many as 100,000 due to adjustments in design for safety purposes and the fact that 91,000 seats were only viable for the Beijing Olympic Games. Its location at the Olympic Green makes it easily accessible from different parts of the city and it has featured various events including live musical concerts, Football matches and the Race of Champions over and above the usual Olympic disciplines.
There are various features that make the Beijing national Stadium one of a kind. Certain points of the structure are higher than others which is the first in modern design whereas the rainwater is captured throughout and purified for consumption, as well as heating the pitch using underground piping and cooling the stadium during hot summer days. Currently, there are plans for the construction of a hotel and shopping mall with an in-depth view of the stadium. These are to be constructed in the coming years to enhance its appeal as a tourist destination and provide additional facilities for visitors and sportsmen alike. The idea is to make it the main tourist attraction in the city of Beijing.
With such meticulous planning and design, it can be expected that the Beijing National Stadium will stand the test of time and continue to be a major tourist attraction in the future despite the current challenges that it faces in terms of marketing. It will host the 2015 World Athletics Championships to once again showcase the pride of Asia.