Bird’s Nest main venue for 2008 Summer Olympics

Jolie Krooks ('09)/ Eastside Online Editor

birds-nest2.jpgA country may exhibit her culture in many ways: she may forsake the lives of thousands of young men in a gluttonous war, she may sacrifice valuable crops and livestock to the gods or she may establish a rigid code for every man to follow.  Otherwise, she may opt to build a Bird’s Nest.  

In 776 B.C. Greece expressed her culture in the Olympics, which honored Zeus.  Now, in 2008, China has expanded on the enduring significance of the Olympics by constructing the Bird’s Nest, the main venue for this year’s Summer Olympics in Beijing.  The stadium will house Opening Ceremonies Aug 8 and Closing Ceremonies Aug 24 in addition to football and track and field competitions.  Also, it will accommodate the Paralympics and many future sport and entertainment events. 

The stadium has earned its name as the Bird’s Nest because its exterior does in fact resemble a gigantic bird’s nest.  “Random” crisscrossing steel beams assemble the stadium’s frame similar to the erratic needles a bird intertwines to build her home.  Accordingly, this nationalistic nest symbolizes China’s aspirations of unifying her people in spite of the commotion in and out of her kingdom.  Despite the fact that the needles of a bird’s nest face various directions, they are ultimately woven together in order to serve as a safe haven for the bird and her children.  

In addition to portraying China’s nationalism, the stadium succeeds as a major architectural triumph.  It diverges from the austere, symmetrical, everyday building.  The stadium has become a global landmark and one of 2007’s top ten architectural accomplishments.  The first in history to use 50,000 tons of steel, the Bird’s Nest is also sound, wind, rain and earthquake proof.  It also has UVA protection and special lighting to prevent glare and shadowing, which aids in the athletes’ performance. 

Builders and civilians celebrated the completion of the five-year project this summer on June 28 since Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron won the six-month-long global design contest in 2002 and ground was broken Christmas Eve 2003.  (Beijing learned that she would host the 2008 Olympics in 2001.) 

The Bird’s Nest, the largest stadium in China, covers 258,000 square meters of land and seats 91,000.  (Compare this stadium to Lincoln Financial, which covers 174,014.8 square meters and seats 66,000.)  The furthest seat is 466 feet from the field. 

The ground-level of the stadium is open to pedestrians and there is also an extensive shopping mall directly underneath the stadium (this construction provides shopping for stadium visitors yet does not distract from aesthetics).  

About 10,500 athletes will compete in 28 sports and 303 medals will be given.  Approximately 20,000 media will depict the events for people other than the 91,000 that will experience the marvels of the games and the new stadium first-hand.