The Beijing National Stadium, also known as the “Bird’s Nest” is a stunning landmark created for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the Paralympics. The $423m stadium resembles a nest from the outside, symbolizing a cradle which holds the “hopes of mankind for the future”. As the iconic structure of the Beijing Olympic Games it has become a recognized landmark worldwide and is the world’s largest steel structure.
The innovative structure was designed by Swiss firm Herzog & De Meuron Architekten, Arup Sport and the China Architecture Design & Research Group. Charged with creating a modern structure that would represent Chinese art and culture and put Beijing on the map, the team along with artistic consultant Ai Weiwei, designed a structure resembling a bird’s nest using twisted webs of metal.
Located in the Olympic Green, the “Bird’s Nest” occupies 21.4 hectares. It stretches 333 meters from north to south and 298 meters from east to west, covering an area of 258,000 square meters. The stadium stands 68 meters high and holds 80,000 seats.
Unlike China's National Aquatics Center, or "Water Cube," another Olympic venue which is also surrounded in this membrane, the Bird’s Nest version is curved and double-layered, offering gracefully decorative soundproof, wind-proof, rain-proof, and even UVA protection to its already impressive body.