Bird's Nest

"Why does a Chinese bowl or a Chinese window have this kind of pattern? Maybe the Chinese people like things to appear in this irregular way, but underneath there are very clear rules. The Bird's Nest developed in this way." —— Li Xinggang, head architect of CADG

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Beijing National Museum (chinese name: 北京国家体育场) or also famous with the name "Bird's Nest" is a stadium in Beijing, Beijing National Stadium was a joint venture among architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron of Herzog & de Meuron, project architect Stefan Marbach, artist Ai Weiwei, and Chinese Architectural Design Group which was lead by chief architect Li Xinggang.

The $423 million stadium is the world's largest steel structure. 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 "seemingly random 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 ton. Despite random appearance, each half of the stadium is nearly identical. 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."

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.

The stadium has not found significant use since the Olympics. In January 2009, the venue's owners announced the stadium would be turned into a shopping and entertainment complex in three to five years. The venue costs approximately $9 million to maintain per year. Due to a lack of use, paint is already peeling in some areas; plans call for the $450 million stadium to anchor a complex of shops and entertainment outlets in three to five years is being developed by operator Citic Group. The company will also continue to develop tourism as a major draw for the stadium, while seeking sports and entertainment events.

Despite 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 converted to a snow theme park.

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