Beijing National Stadium (Bird's Nest)

Written by Sally Guo Updated Jul. 8, 2021

Built for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Beijing National Stadium is a truly stunning piece of architecture. The stadium is also called Bird's Nest as its exterior appearance is like a nest shape. Like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Bird's Nest is the iconic image of Beijing and a symbol of technological progress. Read this article to know more details about this famous architecture.

National Stadium
National Stadium, Beijing

Facts of Beijing National Stadium

How Much Did Beijing National Stadium Cost?

Beijing National Stadium was built by a joint venture of architects, including Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron from the Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron, project architect Stefan Marbach, artistic consultant Ai Weiwei, and CADG which was led by chief architect Li Xinggang.

The ground was broken for the stadium on 24 December 2003, but the process was suspended in August 2004 due to the frugality call. In order to save cost, a retractable roof, some underground garages, and seats were removed from the design. The project restarted at the beginning of 2005.

After nearly four years, the Bird’s Nest is completed on 28 June 2008, cost about CNY 3 billion.

Beijing National Stadium Architecture

Beijing National Stadium is also called Bird's Nest as its exterior appearance is like a nest shape. It is the world’s largest steel structure with 120,000 tons of steel used.

The stadium’s main structure is an enormous saddle-shaped elliptic steel structure weighing 42,000 tons. With such a heavy steel structure, the stadium had to be able to support its own weight and withstand earthquakes as it is located in one of the world’s most seismic zones.

Besides the load-bearing and seismic resistance issues, the effects of thermal expansion are an important factor that needs to be considered as the steel would expand or contract based on the temperature changes.

To deal with these issues, the team worked with Chinese steel producers to develop new steel grades - Q460E that would meet the strength and flexibility requirements of the project. This is a revolutionary and new technology in the construction industry.

Bird’s Nest Architecture
Bird’s Nest Architecture

What Is Beijing National Stadium Used for Now?

Beijing National Stadium was originally designed and built as a venue for the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. Now it is planned to be used again for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

Besides working as the ceremony venue, the Bird’s Nest is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Beijing. Many visitors will come here to admire this architectural wonder and take photos.

In addition, the National Stadium is an important public space, too. It continues to host sporting events and concerts since 2009.

Bird’s Nest Architecture
Bird’s Nest Architecture

How to Get to Beijing National Stadium?

Beijing National Stadium is located on the northern outskirts of the city, 14 kilometers (8 miles) away from Tian’anmen Square. There are three suggested types of transport for you to get to the stadium.

Nearby Attractions

Beijing Attractions Map

1. Summer Palace: Summer Palace is the largest and best-preserved royal park in China. The Palace greatly influences Chinese horticulture and landscape, with its famous natural views and cultural interest, and has long been recognized as 'The Museum of Royal Gardens'. It is only 12 kilometers away from Beijing National Stadium.

2. Mutianyu Great Wall: As an icon of China, the Great Wall is a must-see attraction in Beijing. The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is ranked top on Trip Advisor among all the Great Wall sections, for its picturesque scenery and beautifully restored architecture.

Tour Beijing with Us

We can arrange a worry-free Beijing travel experience for you. If you visit the Bird's Nest or any other attractions in Beijing, feel free to tell us! Our professional travel advisor can tailor-made an itinerary for you.

Check out our popular trips for exploring modern and ancient Beijing:

Besides, China Travel has developed some special activities in Beijing, for you to experience traditional Chinese art forms, like paper-cutting. Feel free to contact us if you want to add these activities to your itinerary.

Exploring Beijing
Exploring Beijing
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