The Olympics are less than one year away and construction on Beijing’s Olympic Green and Forest Parkis stepping into high gear. The Olympic Green, a massive 1,135 hectares along the historic north-south central axis of Beijing, will be the heart of the Olympic games and the site of thirteen venues, including the stunning Olympic Stadiumand National Swim Center. U.S. design firm Sasaki has emphasized sustainability and post-Olympic use in their design—a problem many hosting cities find themselves faced with once the events are over.

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“As important as the Olympic games are, the legacy is after the games,” says Dennis Pieprz, president of Sasaki Associates.

Sasaki’s Olympic Green has focused on Beijing’s long-term development and the facilities, including the 680 hectares of park, will be integrated into day-to-day life for use by Beijing residents and tourists post-games. The 360,000 square meters of apartment living in the Olympic Village will also be sold as commercial housing after the Games.

The balance of East with West, the ancient with the contemporary, development with nature, and park with city were all part of Sasaki’s plan. Earlier this year, two modest temples on either end of the Olympic Green were salvaged after years of neglect as part of a promise made when bidding for the Olympics that Beijing would foster historic preservation in the ancient capital. The Niang Niang Temple, a 500-year-old temple built during the Ming Dynasty and dedicated to a fertility goddess is located near the Olympic Stadium while the 350-year-old Dragon King Temple stands to the north near the Olympic Village.

+ Architectural Record