Houston Community News >> China Unveils Olympic Stadium

4/16/2008-- China has unveiled it 91,000 seater stadium that will form the centerpiece of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The "Bird's Nest" was opened to international media for the first time today and described as an architectural expression of China's pride and burgeoning confidence. It will admit its first paying customers on Friday.

Although its distinctive twisted steel exterior sprung from the minds of European architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, some feel the Swiss have successfully put a modern twist on local artistic tradition.

"In a way it is a very random pattern that is similar to some Chinese artworks like bowls with cracked patterns and ancient pottery that you would see in a museum," Michael Kwok of stadium engineers Arup China said.

"It portrays a very strong image to the world of what China wants to portray - a modern, strong nation with the determination to succeed in this event."

The army of mostly migrant construction workers who built the stadium in 52 months were given a clear indication of the importance of the 400 million project.

"You have written a brilliant page in China's architectural history," Chinese President Hu Jintao told them during a visit to the site in 2006.

"We must try our best to host the Olympics well, in order to enhance the confidence, the spirit of striving, the self-pride and coherence of all Chinese people, and fight together to realize the great revival of the Chinese nation."

After winning the right to host the Games in 2001, China quickly made it clear that it would be looking to make a statement with its showpiece stadium.

Designs were solicited and among the 13 delivered in March 2003 was Herzog and de Meuron's proposal for a 70-metre tall structure encased in twisted steel.

Chinese architect Li Xinggang worked with the Swiss and said practical matters were important.

"It was able to offer spectators the best balance of distance and clear view," Li told said today. "It was the best form for a sporting venue."

The competition committee was made up of six international architects, including Kisho Kurokawa and Rem Koolhaas, as well as seven Chinese architects, structural designers, Olympic experts and officials.

(Contributed by Eircom.net)