The spectacular Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing is hailed as the finest arena in the world and full of hidden symbolism. With the Water Cube (in square) in the opposite, the Bird’s Nest (in round) is said to mirror a traditional Chinese philosophy that the sky is round and the ground is square, which serves as the basic regimen in Chinese culture. In Chinese mythology, the sun is represented by a circle and the moon by a square, reflected in the shapes of the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube. The shapes arew highly reinforced when they are lit at night, red for the Bird’s Nest and blue for the Water Cube. The shapes also reflect the Chinese symbols for male and female, as they are built along the north-south axis which runs in a perfect straight line for three miles through Beijing.
Located in the Olympic Green, the Bird’s Nest stadium boasts as the world’s largest steel structure. Inspired by Chinese ceramics, steel beams were used in the design in order to hide supports for the retractable roof, which gives the stadium the appearance of a Bird’s nest. The eastern and western stands of Beijing National Stadium are higher than northern and southern stands, in order to improve sightlines. A 24-hour per day rainwater collector is located near the stadium; after water is purified, it is used throughout and around the stadium. Pipes placed under the playing surface gather heat in the winter to warm the stadium and coldness in the summer to cool the stadium. The Bird’s Nest design originally called for a capacity of 100,000 people; however 9,000 were removed during a simplification of the design. The new total of 91,000 was shaved further when 11,000 temporary seats were removed after the 2008 Olympics; bringing the stadium’s current capacity to 80,000.
Beijing Bird’s Nest hosted the spectacular Opening and Closing Ceremonies, athletic events, and football final of the 2008 Summer Olympics, from 8 August to 24 August 2008. The stadium also hosted the Opening and Closing ceremonies and athletic events of the 2008 Summer Paralympics from 6 September to 17 September 2008. Though designed for track & field events of the Olympics, Bird’s Nest will continue to host sporting events, such as football, afterwards. A shopping mall and a hotel, with rooms overlooking the field, are situated in the stadium to help increase visitor flow after the Olympics. Nowadays, Bird’s Nest has become the most important public center in Beijing.