Located in the center of Olympic Green at the north end of the city’s central axis, the National Stadium (known as Bird’s Nest) and the National Aquatic Center (known as Water Cube) are two iconic structures of the Beijing Olympics. Visitors love to take pictures as mementos.
As the main venue for the 2008 Beijing Olympic games, the National Stadium impressed people with its pure huge scale, complexity, and unique way the steel supports and interweave with one another, just like a bird’s nest is constructed. Approximately 42,000 tons of steel were used on the project. The spatial effect of the stadium is novel and radical, yet simple and of almost archaic immediacy, thus creating a unique historical landmark. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects, Herzog & DeMeuron from Swiss and China Architecture Design Institute, the Bird’s Nest took more than four years (from 2003 to 2008) to complete and was selected as one of the top ten architectural miracles in the world by Time magazine in 2007.
National Aquatic Center
Compared to the elliptic steel-framed stadium, the rectangular National Aquatic Center, located alongside the National Stadium, appears more light and tender, and presents a beautifully sharp visual contrast. Made of concrete and steel, the Water Cube has a blue-toned outer skin made of Teflon-like material called ethylene-tetrafluoroethylene or ETFE. In daylight, the Water Cube shines as a blue translucent spectacle; while at night, it looks iridescent, elegant and magical, offering spectators a glowing crystal palace with LED-lit bubbles.