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Amazing Olympic Architecture in Beijing, China

By: Donna Smith

Beijing 2008 Olympics

The games have begun!

The capital of China has seized the opportunity to amaze the rest of the world with fantastic Chinese architecture. We've listed our favorites.

1. National Centre for the Performing Arts ("The Egg")

Egg

The Centre, an ellipsoid dome of titanium and glass surrounded by an artificial lake, seats 6,500 people in three halls and is 200,000 m² in size. It was designed by French architect Paul Andreu. Construction started in December 2001 and the inaugural concert was held in December 2007.

The dome measures 212 meters in east-west direction, 144 meters in north-south direction, and is 46 meters high. The main entrance is at the north side. Guests arrive in the building after walking through a hallway that goes underneath the lake. The titanium shell is broken by a glass curtain in north-south direction that gradually widens from top to bottom.

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2. Beijing National Stadium ("The Bird's Nest")

National Stadium

The Beijing National Stadium is a stadium finished for the Olympic Green in Beijing, China that has so far been completed as of March 2008. The stadium will host the main track and field competitions for the 2008 Summer Olympics, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies. It is located east of the Beijing National Aquatics Centre.

The stadium can seat as many as 91,000 spectators during the Olympics. The capacity will then be reduced to 80,000 after the Games. It has replaced the original intended venue of the Guangdong Olympic Stadium.

In January 2008, concerns about construction working conditions arose when it was revealed that 2 workers had died during the stadium's construction.

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3. CCTV Headquarters ("Twisted Donut")

CCTV

The CCTV Headquarters is a skyscraper that is currently under construction in Beijing, China. The building will be the new headquarters of China Central Television. Groundbreaking took place on September 22, 2004. The building will be completed in December 2009.

The main building is not a traditional tower, but a continuous loop of five horizontal and vertical sections covering 4,100,000 square feet of floor space, creating an irregular grid on the building’s facade with an open center. The construction of the building is considered to be a structural challenge, especially because it is in a seismic zone. Because of its radical shape, it has acquired nicknames such as "Twisted Donut" and "The Pants" by locals.

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4. Television Cultural Center

TCC

The 115 000m² Television Cultural Center (TVCC) that will stand next to the China Central Television (CCTV) building, will house an ultramodern hotel. With 300 rooms it will provide accommodation for visitors to the Chinese broadcasting organization.

TVCC consists of two towers containing the hotel, and a collection of separate buildings that will house a theatre, digital cinema, exhibition hall, recording studios, and audiovisual rooms. These are covered by a long-span space frame roof that wraps up and over the hotel to form a canopy for the whole development.

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5. Beijing National Aquatics Center ("The Water Cube")

Aquatics Center

The aquatics center was built alongside Beijing National Stadium in the Olympic Green for the 2008 Summer Olympics. Ground was broken on December 24, 2003.

Comprising a steel space frame, it is the largest ETFE clad structure in the world with over 100,000 m² of ETFE pillows that are only eight one-thousandths of an inch in total thickness. The ETFE cladding allows more light and heat penetration than traditional glass, resulting in a 30% decrease in energy costs.

The outer wall is based on the Weaire-Phelan structure, a foam (structure formed by soap bubbles). The pattern is formed by taking a slice through the foam, and it was chosen in preference to the Kelvin foam because the more complex Weaire-Phelan structure results in more irregular, organic patterns than slices through the regular Kelvin foam.

The structure will have a capacity of 17,000 during the games that will be reduced to 6,000 afterwards. It also has a total land surface of 65,000 square metres and will cover a total of 7.8 acres.

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