Gallery: BEIJING’S OLYMPIC STADIUM by Herzog and DeMeuron

 

After featuring the stunning “bubble building” being built for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, we felt it necessary to mention an equally-awesome structure under construction just across the way. Herzog and DeMeuron’s Olympic Stadium, fondly referred to by some as the “Bird’s Nest,” is a feat of engineering, an aesthetic marvel, and an uber-green machine to boot. What we love most about the stadium’s design is its integration of a myriad complex systems all rolled into such an aesthetically and conceptually simple and stunning object. The Swiss architects describe it best, saying, “The spatial effect of the stadium is novel and radical and yet simple and of an almost archaic immediacy. Its appearance is pure structure. Facade and structure are identical.”

The structure itself is composed of a grid-like formation that serves as both structure and facade, integrating the stairs, walls, and roof into one cohesive system. Instead of form being dictated by function, Herzog and DeMeuron’s design effectively removes the distinction, making function and form one in the same.

Such a large-scale and highly-trafficked building raises questions of waste, efficiency, and cost, but the “Bird’s Nest” seems to pose innovative, green solutions to a variety of potential building issues. Its green features include a rainwater collection system, a translucent roof that provides essential sunlight for the grass below, and a natural, passive ventilation system.

Perhaps the most unique feature of the structure is its “cushion” system which strategically fills the spaces within the building’s facade to regulate wind, weather, and sunlight. On the rooftop, the inflatable cushions fill gaps to weather- and waterproof the stadium. “Just as birds stuff the spaces between the woven twigs of their nests with a soft filler, the spaces in the structure of the stadium will be filled with inflated cushions.” Coincidentally, the cushions will be made from ETFE, the same material used to create the translucency of the “bubble building” across the Olympic park.

Sculptural rather than an architectural sensory overload like many a contemporary stadium, “it meets all the functional and technical requirements of an Olympic National Stadium, but without communicating the insistent sameness of technocratic architecture dominated by large spans and digital screens.”

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68 Comments

  1. Emma Miler March 19, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    This is the most beautiful stadium I´ve ever seen in my life! At all directions I look it is always a genius work!
    I have two idols in my life, is Herzog and DeMeuron in architecture and Boca do lobo in interior Design furniture. I am so addictited! All the time anxious for new works!
    If you don´t now Boca do Lobo, check it! It worth to see!
    http://www.bocadolobo.com

  2. ramzz June 14, 2010 at 3:52 am

    what the fucking stedium it was..
    its jus mind blowing…..
    damn sexy stedium it was….!

  3. Azer Faradjov December 19, 2009 at 11:05 am

    very beautiful

  4. phel February 20, 2009 at 12:34 am

    love it.

  5. plantfan January 31, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    Highly unique…however it looks like a giant steel bedpan!!!!!!!!!!

  6. plantfan January 31, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    Very unique…however it looks like a steel bedpan!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. franco August 27, 2008 at 10:51 am

    que buena ondaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa de estadio

  8. T-niggs August 19, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    As a Builiding designer I am absolutly amazed at what China has achieved it truly is a testoment to Chinas ability to construct monuments not only on schedule but ahead of it so they can just “walk away” and enjoy their sucess.
    T-niggs

  9. nicker August 9, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    Watch the olympics live here with your computer. Its free if you have Yahoo bar
    http://hothot.ath.cx:8080/special/olympics.html

  10. anilk August 8, 2008 at 7:10 am

    im an indian especially a communist believer , proud about the growth of china, our brother country.i wish all the chineese people for their best efforts.

  11. Yummers July 25, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    As a structural engineer, I am in pure awe of the amount of calculations that must have gone into guaranteeing the integrity of the “steel nest”. Rolling, twisting, and tying all that steel together creates so many different and unique math problems….I can’t help but wonder how thoroughly calculated the nest is. I’ve studied the structure (on the surface only) and I do not understand how moment and shear transfer is accomplished in many areas of the structure. There must be things happening within the walls of the tubes where they tie into other members that I am unaware of. Could it really withstand a powerful earthquake? And if it does fail to an earthquake, is the entire structure vulnerable to collapse, thus destroying the stadium within? Also from a structural engineer’s stance, I simply cannot help but look at it as a twisted mess of steel with a stadium inside. This is something I cannot get past. The use of AESS on such a large scale almost seems excessive.

    Finally, I struggle to understand why some would call this the most impressive example of modern architecture they have ever seen. Just to name one example of the many hundreds, I look to the many contributors of the Guggenheim Museums for pure beauty and function in modern architecture. I believe that once the Olympics have come to a conclusion, this structure will be lost in Beijing’s thick haze. This is only one man’s opinion so take my criticisms and compliments with ease.

  12. Yummers July 25, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    As a structural engineer, I am in pure awe of the amount of calculations that must have gone into guaranteeing the integrity of the \”steel nest\”. Rolling, twisting, and tying all that steel together creates so many different and unique math problems….I can\’t help but wonder how thoroughly calculated the nest is. I’ve studied the structure (on the surface only) and I do not understand how moment and shear transfer is accomplished in many areas of the structure. There must be things happening within the walls of the tubes where they tie into other members that I am unaware of. Could it really withstand a powerful earthquake? And if it does fail to an earthquake, is the entire structure vulnerable to collapse, thus destroying the stadium within? Also from a structural engineer\’s stance, I simply cannot help but look at it as a twisted mess of steel with a stadium inside. This is something I cannot get past. The use of AESS on such a large scale almost seems excessive.

    Finally, I struggle to understand why some would call this the most impressive example of modern architecture they have ever seen. Just to name one of the hundreds of examples; I look to the many contributors of the Guggenheim Museums for pure beauty and function in modern architecture. I believe that once the Olympics have come to a conclusion, this structure will be lost in Beijing’s thick haze. This is only one man’s opinion so take my criticisms and compliments with ease.

  13. Kanrunmo July 4, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    The Bejing Olympic buildings are wonderful. We saw them in November and they are amazing. I think it will be the most amazing Olympics ever. The Chinese are doing everything they can to make it a safe and great Olympics. I admire them a lot for coming so far in such a short time – like from 200 hundred years behind to the 21st century.
    KanRunMO

  14. Serge July 1, 2008 at 5:10 am

    This is one the most impressive constructions I ever seen. Great project and incredibly beautiful!
    I’ve also written a small non-professional review for the Bird’s Nest myself, if interested have a look here please;
    http://turcanu.net/blog/2008/06/06/beijing-national-olympic-stadium-birds-nest-review/

  15. didi April 1, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    the building itself seems to have defied the idea of ‘form follows function’…it certainly is transparent, true to its essence..uniting engineering and architecture without one being dominant.

  16. cutie March 11, 2008 at 7:57 am

    Thankyou for your article

  17. Nathan in Beijing March 8, 2008 at 10:49 am

    A superb architectural landmark befitting the world’s oldest extant civilasation and culturally rich peaceful nation.

  18. Daniel February 28, 2008 at 11:22 am

    What companies did the construction of the of stadium?

  19. Beijing bird nest January 27, 2008 at 4:41 am

    ‘Bird’s Nest’ becomes a scenic spot
    More information at
    http://www.beijingbirdnest.com

  20. Gary January 20, 2008 at 12:03 am

    I don’t know anything about architecture but given the quality of the merchandise they’re sending over here for our consumption I would not feel safe in the shadow of that building. Good luck to all who dare step inside it.

  21. Handsome boy January 1, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    How many seats are there in different stadiums?

  22. lim kit siang December 30, 2007 at 4:51 am

    buruk! babi

  23. Guy December 28, 2007 at 8:54 pm

    The Beijing Olympic buildings are something all of humanity should take pride in. For just a fraction of what the US is spending on a war on the people of Iraq, the Chinese are showing the whole world how money can be used to create fantastic, long living archetectural works of arts instead of the terrorism of war.

  24. vadz December 28, 2007 at 11:29 am

    very impressive and beautiful design.

  25. cowit October 24, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    esta es una obra de arte m da mucho gusto saber que las olimpiadas se realizaran es china

  26. Oliver Null October 16, 2007 at 2:13 am

    The strength of this work is that it can extract many positive and negative critiques. It is engaging and solicits many interpretations,all of which are valid. Can it be viewed both as a nest or a cage?..yes……….this is a strength….it’s design is a beautiful contradiction, that belies explanation.

  27. kartik September 17, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    ULTIMATE BUILDING OF MODERN ERA
    SIMPLY MAGISTIC

  28. David Foster September 3, 2007 at 10:45 am

    Saw it the other week during visit to China. Amazing building

  29. passerby September 2, 2007 at 7:34 pm

    lol. beautiful and controversial at the same time. splendid!

  30. shabazz August 21, 2007 at 6:06 am

    this is splendid, and a masterpiece of Architecture.i think it is wort taking a second look every now and then.

  31. Wendy July 27, 2007 at 4:58 am

    ———
    Dave C Says:

    March 8th, 2007 at 10:08 am
    “An uber-green machine?’ I think not. We shouldn’t confuse natural aesthetics, marketing, and a bit of innovation with what is really a massive waste of money, and resources. For a different take on the Bird’s Nest stadium, check out this interview with Chinese landscape architect Kongjian Yu from the American Society of Landscape Architects:
    http://www.asla.org/land/2006/1017/yu.html
    He notes that the Bird’s Nest stadium uses twice as much steel as typical stadium construction and will have no real use for the Chinese once the Olympics are over.
    ———-

    A landscape architect? I think he is out of his depth when it comes to architecture – what he says is rather glib. American Society of Landscape Architects?? That says it all. Americans will do anything to slight or hinder the Chinese. It’s due to the growing realisation that they will no longer be ‘Number One’ anymore.

    ———-
    “Smarter Olympic stadium plans are taking hold in London, …“Olympic Stadiums” are being designed to be scalable so that when the Olympic events end the stadium can be scaled down for regular use by the cities.”
    ———-

    REALLY? So constructing a semi-permanent Olympic Stadium from scratch, whilst there is already a newly completed one in the shape of Wembley! is that SMART?

    Beijing doesn’t currently have an up-to-date Olympic sized stadium for their (larger) population. London does!

    ———-
    “Finally, shouldn’t we be thinking about this from a wider perspective? Why does every Olympics require the construction of permanent infrastructure that will go largely unused by the host city once the events are over? Aren’t there enough cities in the world with massive stadiums and existing infrastructure to host these events?”
    ———

    Is this a proposal for the continued dominance of the West in all apsects of global life?!
    lol…

    ———-
    Evan Jones Says:

    July 26th, 2007 at 5:24 pm
    A lot of the negative responses are due to the fact that we in the UK are never going to compete with what they are achieving in Beijing!
    ———

    Totally agree. I think we are already embroiled in planning controversy already!!!

  32. Evan Jones July 26, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    A lot of the negative responses are due to the fact that we in the UK are never going to compete with what they are achieving in Beijing!

    I mean, they are ahead of schedule! The IOC have actually suggested they slow down the construction for fear of completing the buildings early, hence losing revenue as the buildings will be empty!

    What do we have in the UK? Tonnes and tonnes of ‘red tape’, disagreements all the way and no public support whatsoever! Our olympic stadium is decidedly lacklustre, it certainly isn’t as iconic nor memorable as the ‘birdsnest’ and the adjacent ‘watercube’.

    No doubt everything will be delayed or totally redesigned due to lack of funding and/or overspending. What is it with this country, we are a developed country, but we sure aren’t as efficient nor concientious as the Chinese. They work hard, we don’t…

  33. dominic July 21, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    It’s indeed stunning.. I had the chance to have a good enough looking company to not only get in, but even on the roof of the stadium (July 2007). If you fancy having a look at the stadium as it currently looks like then you can turn to http://dondomingo.nomadlife.org/2007/07/discovering-beijings-olympic-stadium.aspx or http://www.flickr.com/photos/dondomingo.
    HdM continue being an inspiration!

  34. jake June 22, 2007 at 1:20 am

    wooooww wat a great design…….meaning asian nation conquer the world’s hmmm left american design nothing…….more asian nation make diferent futuristic design not only like tallest towers like in Malaysia in Taipei in dubai and rest of asia…China’s olympic stadium is a stunning one of all the olympic stadium in the world just like in Qatar….nice and beautiful one…..its a futuristic design i

  35. ser June 20, 2007 at 6:05 am

    Rory B
    “I think that anyone who thinks that this stadium will go ‘largely unused’ after the olympics is forgetting how many billion people china has, I am sure they will find a use for it….”

    a prison for falun gong grannies?

  36. Alix Speed June 20, 2007 at 5:25 am

    u mit see me in it

  37. chris June 18, 2007 at 11:10 am

    I think it’s a great undertaking for the chinese in the 2008 olympics. Truly it is a start for safer environmentally friendly buildings and architectural ideas …so they say. They might as well use their billions of dollars they have to build something cool.

  38. Natasha June 17, 2007 at 11:35 am

    wow, i think it’s absolutley amazing… it’s different compared to all the other designs of stadiums i’ve seen. this might sound sad, but i can sit there looking at it all day! have you seen londons’ one? i live 5 minutes away from it and now i’m ashamed for living so close to it! it has no… passion to it! it looks like it was made in a hurry… very saddening indeed…

  39. Madison May 7, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    it looks great, but im gonna have to agree w/ jon b.

  40. Jay May 6, 2007 at 5:42 am

    The building looks loke a good place for giant birds and UFO’s to land

  41. jon b April 22, 2007 at 8:46 am

    DB writes “there is blood all over it.. subsidized by the human organ market. the judicial system is corrupt. human rights violations too numerous to count”

    There are answers to the above. Where there is a buyer, there is a sellers. There are plenty of companies in US as well as UK and others buying and selliing organs to hospitals. DB has clearly picked and chose china as the target and attacked indiscriminately. Second, to say the entire Olympic compound is built on organ money is childish and absurd. Third, all judicial systems are corrpted one way or the other. China is corrupted but china has no monopoly on corruptions. Speaking of human rights viiolations, lets not forget the outright exterminations of “american indians” and native hawaiians. One might argue these people are still here. The fact is that these livings aren’t looked the same as their ancestors 200 years ago. The pure blooded natives are all dead. If you insists, UK’s colonial past tells a lot of atrocities, brutalities and was the only state sponsored opium trafficker in the history of mankind. This was how acquired its wealth with which the empire was built.

  42. yosma April 19, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    its amazing construccion!
    woa…
    dont have more words!!!
    hehe
    congratulations!!!

  43. DB April 18, 2007 at 9:31 am

    there is blood all over it.. subsidized by the human organ market. the judicial system is corrupt. human rights violations too numerous to count.

    people starve, breathe polluted air and bathe in contaminated water – but let’s paint grass green and build a stadium/futuristic prison complex so the world can see how great china is! :-/

  44. Paul Higgins April 14, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    Cannot wait to be there and sample it in real life a lifetimes ambition for me and my daughter!!!!

  45. hung yip chan April 8, 2007 at 11:22 am

    its the old time practice, when we would like to keep the design in good proportion,
    we are not satisfy in the small scale (1/100) elevation, we usually put some portiont in enlarged
    scale, say 1/50 or 1/25 even in full size details.
    If we do it somewhat like that, then, the huge steel concrete members of the skin would show up,
    you would think it over over again for the future rreal effect.and difficulty of work.
    But I am sorry the contemporary practice just based on the small scale of computer design.
    so it is hard to visualize the actual effect .

  46. God April 7, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    It looks like some kid with dementia started playing around on MS Paint. Ignoring the stupid waste, expense, negative environmental impact, and amount of time required to build this, it just looks stupid. It’s a bunch of squiggly lines that someone wants to recreate in concrete – why? There’s nothing wrong with architectural innovation and design, but this is just pointless.

  47. Per April 7, 2007 at 8:57 am

    Its a great renewal of Beijng, and will remain as a classic famous attraction for when China joined the world!

  48. hung yip chan March 30, 2007 at 5:55 pm

    the irregular steel skin to form the birds’ nest is not for structural perposes,
    it not only wastes millions money but also looks very crumsy.
    to build such stupid skin is absolutely foolish.
    when I looked at the construction of this skin—welding, casting
    with huge steel sections- the work is so hard –I am very sorry for that
    furthermoore, just as someone is thinking about the future maintenance,
    how to clean up the irregular huge concret members of his skin?
    everyone knows about the environment of beijing!.

  49. JRD March 20, 2007 at 5:31 am

    The amount emboided energy of the steel used to create the birds nest aesthetic so much larger than any other stadium that the energy payback for the ‘ecological’ features are about 130 years! This building while impressive aesthetically (I love the form and more generally the reintroduction of texture into the work) it should not be considered ecologially responsible. I recall being in Beijing during the 50th anniversary celebration of the communist party, yes they can use stadiurms for other uses, then they used them as detention centers for people deemed to have illegally migrated to the city.

  50. frs March 16, 2007 at 12:22 am

    asi va a quedar el estadio de vargas manga de chino gay … la rioja tiene mas tecnologia que esa cagada

  51. guillermo March 15, 2007 at 9:27 pm

    uh loko re grosso el estadio me gustaria ir apara alla cuando argentina gane la medalla de oro en futbol y basquet.. loko re buena onda ustedes…. sigan asi me voy a fumar un faso ahora se vemo man…

  52. YASMIN la todopoderosa March 15, 2007 at 5:54 pm

    la verdad no entendí nada porque nose hablar, ni leer bien ingles, pero me pareció un estadio formidable, vivo en chile y con suerte hay uno así en nuetros sueños, es lindo, pero me gustaría que hubiera tenido una forma mas original, y con más luces como el alians arena, pero igual está bien
    Chau besitos

  53. Karen March 12, 2007 at 9:42 pm

    We just returned from China (Beijing) after a week November 2006. If this indeed is what’s being built, it sounds nice. But, from the construction we saw, and there was lots of it, they are pretty much wiping out most of what made Beijing unique from the west. There is a big push there to make everything “modern”, but they are interpreting from suburbia: the boring track malls, the cookie-cutter town homes. Even the Forbidden City was getting refurbed. And for this arena to have transparent walls and roof seems absurd, we were in the city for four days before we were aware that there were mountains in the distance, the polution from coal and car exhaust was breath prohibitive.

  54. Scott March 12, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    It’s is an absolutely amazing piece of design, and I can hardly believe that people could think that it will be left to rot after the Olympics. As an ex-Sydneysider, the Olympics infrastructure is in regular use for sporting and non-sporting events. Further, the Olympics spurred urban regeneration in a part of Sydney that was a disaster area.

    Dave C, you state
    “Finally, shouldn’t we be thinking about this from a wider perspective? Why does every Olympics require the construction of permanent infrastructure that will go largely unused by the host city once the events are over? Aren’t there enough cities in the world with massive stadiums and existing infrastructure to host these events?”

    Yes, there are, but given that these stadia are primarily located in first world countries, why should developing nations have the opportunity to host the Olympics if they so wish? I personally think there are better things for governments to spend their money on (the UK government would arguably be better served pouring the £12billion in the Cross Rail, for example) but it is a little elitist to suggest that only countries with the infrastructure should be the only ones able to hold such events.

  55. Rory B March 12, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    I think that anyone who thinks that this stadium will go ‘largely unused’ after the olympics is forgetting how many billion people china has, I am sure they will find a use for it….

    In terms of the environmental impact of the building, I think it would be wiser look at the overall enviromental impact of the actual event of the olympics as a whole. Imagine the combined impact of not only the construction, planning, raw materials, processing and transport, but also the transportation and resources to support the millions of athletes and spectators from around the world, all so we can watch someone run around a track faster than another person?

    so if they’re going to screw it up for the rest of us they may as well build a permanent monument to remember it. well done. i love it.

  56. Foretell March 12, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    Looks like a prison. China will destroy America within 20 years.

  57. Tyzemail March 12, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    that does look pretty amazing, will london 2012 be able to match it?

  58. Peter K March 12, 2007 at 11:59 am

    The Olympic Stadium in Sydney had a capacity of 110,000 (the largest in Olympic History). After the games the north and south “wings” were removed an the capacity reduced to 85,000. The athletics track was removed and the seating around the arena moved forward on hydraulic powered rails to move spectators closer to the action on the football field. It can be moved back again if required to allow for the re-installation of an athletics track if needed.

    The stadium now hosts, Australian Rules Football, Rugby League, Rugby Union (it hosted the 2003 Rugby World Cup), Football, Cricket, even concerts if needed. Sydney’s games infrastructure is in regular use by local and national sporting organisations and events. Every two years the Australian Youth Olympic festival attracts young olympic hopefuls from around the world to these venues in a week long competition in their respective sports. The legacy of Sydney games infrastructure lives on to this day through these events.

  59. Monomorphic March 12, 2007 at 11:18 am

    Looks like a wad of yarn. They better get started quick if they expect to get this god aweful thing up in time for 08. And wtf is up withy the ‘bubble building’??? Looks kind of square.

  60. kamy March 12, 2007 at 7:31 am

    OMG… That looks stunning. Don’t you have more hi-res pictures?

  61. Nobody present March 12, 2007 at 4:00 am

    Looks like large yarn doughnut.

  62. Duncan March 11, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    Seriously though… China appears to be the future for this kind of thing. Give it a couple of years and most design will be coming out of China.

  63. Simon March 8, 2007 at 10:43 pm

    Hi, does anyone know where I can get hold of the original hi-res images of the stadium?

  64. Dave C March 8, 2007 at 10:08 am

    “An uber-green machine?’ I think not. We shouldn’t confuse natural aesthetics, marketing, and a bit of innovation with what is really a massive waste of money, and resources. For a different take on the Bird’s Nest stadium, check out this interview with Chinese landscape architect Kongjian Yu from the American Society of Landscape Architects:
    http://www.asla.org/land/2006/1017/yu.html

    He notes that the Bird’s Nest stadium uses twice as much steel as typical stadium construction and will have no real use for the Chinese once the Olympics are over. Smarter Olympic stadium plans are taking hold in London, and in Olympic proposals in Chicago and Los Angeles where “Olympic Stadiums” are being designed to be scalable so that when the Olympic events end the stadium can be scaled down for regular use by the cities.

    Finally, shouldn’t we be thinking about this from a wider perspective? Why does every Olympics require the construction of permanent infrastructure that will go largely unused by the host city once the events are over? Aren’t there enough cities in the world with massive stadiums and existing infrastructure to host these events?

  65. Richie March 8, 2007 at 9:01 am

    Yeah… it does look GREAT… much like Zaha Hadid’s ‘Performing Arts centre in Dubai’ … BUT… AGAIN… how are the transluscent pillow like sections, or it’s glazing, going the be cleaned. As China develops, it has some of the worst air pollution on the planet. So this design will be covered with sooty grime before long if there are no realistic provisions for cleaning its exterior and interior surfaces. But then again, in a totalitarian country like China, they could create ‘suicide cleaning squads’ to get up on the roof of this stadium and clean ! If they fell off… well, that would just be an example of them sacrificing trhemselves for the greater glory of the peoples revolution, right ?

  66. jon burrage March 8, 2007 at 8:18 am

    Zeek I have to disagree, I think its stunning. Totally different and inventive. In areas of the world such as china and the UAE where development and money are abundant (when they need to be) why stick to normality, push the boundaries and play with forms. Its stunning, zaha hadid’s design is amazing also…i love this exciting, new, crazy development.

  67. Angelo March 7, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    Beautiful. Absolutely stunning!

  68. Zeek March 7, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    Looks like a prison complex from a futuristic Sylvester Stallone movie. Seriously- It feels like a place to lock people away, not a community gather place. Very intimidating. To me this proposed museum in Abu Dhabi accomplishes somthing similar, but in a much more open way.
    http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2007/03/07/arts/07louv_CA0.ready.html

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