Roam China 2008 travel blog


Deciding to get up early we caught the subway to see the Birdsnest Stadium and Water Cube Stadium. Although we could not get close due to construction, the buildings were a stunning sight!

In 2002, officials opened a design competition to architects worldwide. Pritzker Prize-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron collaborated China Architecture Design & Research Group to win the competition. The ground was blessed on Christmas Eve December 2003, with construction beginning in March 2004. DUe to high costs in Aug 04, building was delayed and continued once more. In January 2008, concerns about working conditions arose when it was revealed that 2 workers had died during the stadium's construction.

It is much reminicent of nature. Seen from the top, it looks as if the stadium is a covered by a gray net of steel, just like a birds nest made of tree branches. We were told just how the birds fill up the spaces between the branches of their nets with soft materials, so too the spaces in the structure of the stadium will be filled with huge plastic bags full of air. (Strange!?!) The spectacular building holds 91k people and will be used for the opening and closing ceremonies.

It's neighbour, The Water Cube was initially designed by PTW Architects and CSCEC International Design; the structure built by (China State Construction Engineering Corporation). Comprising a steel space frame, it is the largest clad structure in the world with over 100,000 m² pillows that are only eight one-thousandths of an inch in total thickness, The cladding allows more light and heat penetration than traditional glass, resulting in a 30% decrease in energy costs.

The outer wall is a foam (structure formed by soap bubbles). The pattern is formed by taking a slice through the foam, and it was chosen in preference to the Kelvin foam because other styles and materials previously used were more irregular, organic patterns.I heard taht ETFC (?) is the newly developed material which is shatter proof and earth quake proof.

The structure will hold 17k during the games and will be reduced to 6,000 afterwards. It also has a total land surface of 65,000 square metres and will cover a total of 7.8 acres! It's HUGE!

At night the cube lights up blue and has little bubbles floating up... It will be strange when we are home and watching the games knowing we walked these streets.

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