Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium, Beijing, China

bird’s nest olympic stadium

The National Stadium of Beijing, referred to unofficially as the “Bird’s Nest”, is considered a masterpiece of logistics, technology and craftsmanship. The powerful and dynamic combination of shimmering steel supports running in different directions and membrane panels creates a unique sports facility, designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron.

  • The stadium comprises two parts that were built separately: the woven steel structure and the interior concrete grandstands. The primary structure of the steel frame is formed by 24 portal girders welded together into a single unit. The secondary structure, which consists of irregularly arranged columns and struts, which serve as braces, supports this structure. The open lattice structure has a translucent membrane for horizontal protection from the weather.

    This single-ply ETFE-foil with a thickness of 250µm is printed with a matrix of silver-gray dots to reduce the amount of light. The total membrane area of 38,000sqm is made up of 880 individual foil panels, which measure up to 216sqm. Owing to the size of the span, these panels are supported by 4,690 stainless steel cables. As it was very difficult to calculate the tolerance of the steel structure in advance, the foils were first made to measure. Then, with the aid of a computer, a 3D geometry was produced for each individual panel. Each foil panel is secured all the way around with aluminium clamps to broad steel drainpipes.

    An interior membrane of PTFE-coated fibreglass fabric hides the roof structure from view and also improves the acoustics. The assembly time for the roofing was 40 weeks.

46,000sqm single-layer ETFE-foil  880 separate foil panels up to 216sqm in area  4,690 stainless steel ropes to support the ETFE-foil panels

Client National Stadium Co., Ltd. Beijing (CN)
General contractor Beijing Urban Construction Group
Architect Herzog & de Meuron
Date of completion 2008
Scope of seele supply
  • total membrane area of 38.000sqm
  • ETFE single layer, foil-thickness 250μm
  • 4.690 stainless steel cables

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