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Olympic Architecture 2008
By Guoxin Ma

August 11, 2008 /
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Fifteen newly built venues, fourteen renovated and expanded venues, seven makeshift or temporary buildings, and five related facilities.

Like every host city so far, Beijing has used the Olympics as a show-case and opportunity to recreate its image through ambitious projects, to reinvent itself as a city of representation on the global stage, and so make a significant (and controversial) contribution to urban development scenarios.

In his introduction "One World, One Dream" Guoxin Ma provides an insight into the concept and the programmatic standards of this gigantic project; how the cultural background and ideals symbolized by the buildings and the newest architectural forms and technological possibilities are intertwined with Chinese tradition and the Olympic spirit.

The major facilities for the 29th Olympic Games, such as the national Stadium, National Aquatics Center, National Indoor Stadium, National Convention Center and the Digital Building, are located on the two sides of the central zone.

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Herzog and de Meuron's National Stadium is the main venue of the Olympic Games and one of the landmark buildings in the Beijing Olympic Green.
The structure resembles a "Bird's Nest" built with metallic "tree branches." The stadium is the longest spanning steel structure in the world

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The National Aquatic Center, by PTW Architects, is located next to the National Stadium. The design, known as the "Watercube," plays on the geometry of water bubbles, fantastically crystallized as a massive rectangular form.

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The Digital Beijing Building stands as a vigorous assertion of modern architectural beauty with its ultramodern external facade, dressed in glistening black, and its chip-like appearance.

After the Olympic Games the building will serve as an information center for the Beijing Municipal Government.
Designed by Studio Urbanus and Studio Pei Zhu.

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The Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium, serving as one of the venues for the Football competition, is designed in a water drop shape, the effects achieved through the application of the roofing materials.
Designed by the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design.

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The Beijing Olympic Basketball Gymnasium, with its curtain wall made of golden aluminum plate, looks like a golden cube glittering under the sun. The perforated aluminum plates, inductive to the image of golden waves, are erected disorderly on the elevation.
Designed by the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design.

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The Beijing University of Technology Gymnasium will serve as the exclusive venue for Badminton and Rhythmic Gymnastics.
The two silver grey halls, connected by a platform, are slim and graceful. After the Olympic games the building will become an important cultural heritage bequeathed by the 2008 Olympic Games to Beijing.
Designed by the Architectural Design and Research Institute.

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The Olympic Sports Center Stadium and Beijing Worker's Gymnasium are among the reconstructed buildings.

The renovation and extension project of the Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium was mainly to test, repair, and reinforce the principal structures.
The Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium will serve as a venue to hold the Handball Preliminaries and Quarterfinals and serve as a training venue for Goalball by the blind, Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Fencing and Wheelchair Rugby.
Designed by Beijing Institute of Architectural Design.

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The alteration of the Beijing Worker's Gymnasium included alteration of the general layout, renovation of the principal building, and the addition of unobstructed facilities for the handicapped.
The Beijing Worker's Gymnasium will serve as the Boxing venue during the 29th Olympiad and as the Judo venue for blind during the Paralympics.
Designed by Beijing Institute of Architectural Design.

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Among the six temporary structures is the Wukesong Sports Center Baseball Field and the National Convention Center.

The main building of the Wukesong Sports Center is built with removable cast steel structure and screw bolts. Their exterior screens are made with sprawling plants. Temporary stands are added during the games. When the Olympic Games are over the temporary facilities in the field will be removed.

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During the 29th Olympic Games the National Convention Center will serve as the International Broadcasting Center (IBC) and the Main Press Center (MPC). After the Olympic Games it will host international conferences and comprehensive exhibitions in Beijing.

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The book provides insights into the specialized stadium architecture with an abundance of photos, drawings and illustrations of details.

Guoxin Ma has been engaged in architectural practice for over 40 years, and has taken charge of the design of many important projects, such as Chairman Mao's Memorial Hall in Beijing in 1976, the National Olympic Sports Center in Beijing in 1989, the New Terminal Two of the Capital International Airport of Beijing in 1999, and the Memorial Statue Garden of the War of Resistance Against Japan in Beijing in 2000. He was granted the title of the "State Design Master" and won the Liang Sicheng Architectural Prize in 2003. 

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Publisher: Birkhäuser with CABP

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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