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Bird’s Nest Stadium opens in Beijing

The spectacular centrepiece for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the National Stadium, opened to the media today ahead of the first sports event to be held at the venue this Friday.

The stadium, designed by engineers Arup, Herzog & De Meuron architects and China Architecture Design & Research Group, has a capacity of 91,000 seats and will host the opening and closing ceremonies of this summer’s Olympic Games, as well as the track and field athletic events.

"We designed the stadium inside out, so the seating bowl was designed first, as our priority was to ensure that 91,000 spectators will be as close as possible to the action with clear sight lines. The design also had to accommodate 11,000 temporary seats for the Games," said Arup sports specialist, J Parrish as he explained the unusual stadium shape.

"The façade was then designed to wrap around the seating. Although the pattern of the steel structure might appear random, it follows a complex set of rules from which we defined the geometry. Without this, the stadium would have been impossible to build. The design will leave spectators wondering which aspects of the structure are functional and which have been included for appearance alone."

Arup’s design also takes into account the fact that Beijing is located in one of the world’s most seismic zones. Advanced computer analysis and modeling has ensured that the structure has the ability to withstand major earthquakes. Arup also provided mechanical, electrical and public health engineering, acoustics, fire strategy, sports lighting and wind engineering.

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