Building site Olympics 2008 – architectural projects of the superlative

Peak period is currently prevailing on the building sites of Beijing. At the moment, 30 000 workers are working very hardly all day and night ensuring that the projected Olympia sites can be finished within the prescribed period. The organisation committee is already under time pressure due to technical problems, underestimated costs and a shortage in supply of steel.  

China’s ambitious plans in getting finished with all of the building projects long before reaching 2008 have already become a rather relative matter. According to the vice-building site manager, one is however convinced to be well in time of the schedule given by the Olympic committee and is hopeful to manage all of the work until end of 2007, thus being able to test all construction plants without further time pressure. Neither trouble nor expenses are spared in order to build these prestige buildings.

The resettlement of 3000 families, who had to give way to the Olympia buildings alone cost China around 155 million Euros.

National Stadium in Beijing

The national stadium, being the central venue of the Olympic Games 2008, will become the exceptional eye catcher amongst all the extravagant building projects. The Swiss architects’ office Herzog & deMeuron, which already designed Munich’s Allianz-Arena, intended to build a stadium that, at least in this form, does not yet exist anywhere in the world.

The building with its circular ground plan and the altogether 42000 tons heavy entangled steel-scaffolding reminds one of an enormous bird’s nest and costs more than 300 million Euros. In order to keep further expenditures on a lower level, the planned movable sliding roof has been cancelled. At the opening, all of the 91 000 spectators will sit under a free sky in open air. The stadium itself is protected against rain, sand storms and snow by 40000 square metres of ETFE foil.

Swimming centre

The swimming centre is the second main venue of the Olympic Games in Beijing and is apart from the national stadium. The outer construction of this building, costing 100 million Euros, has already been finished. Extending over 80,000 square metres and containing five pools, this enormous cube will once be the largest natatorium of the world. A firm has been commissioned to cover it with a shimmering dirt-repellent and isolating foil.

The facade will consists of irregular honeycombed forms, shaped like bubbles and resembling the structure of foam. Together with the national stadium, the swimming centre got attached too with a metaphorical meaning: in China circle and square symbolize the antagonism between heaven and earth.

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