奥林匹克公园 Olympic Green

北京奥林匹克公园 Běijīng Olympic Green

Built for the 2008 Summer Olympics, the park lies to the north of central Beijing, covers 1,215 hectares (3000 acres) and will be used again in 2022 to host the Winter Olympics. During my summer visit the daunting scale, manicured landscapes, flying kites, visitors and vendor stalls created a state fair effect. My uneasiness was and is founded on the park’s complicated history: the razing and evictions deemed necessary to make way for the complex was met with discontent and even suicide protests in 2003. Further reading, a Nicolai Ouroussoff NYT piece: Lost in the New Beijing.

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鸟巢 Beijing National Stadium

Designed by Herzog & de Meuron (Stefan Marbach), China Architecture Design & Research Group (Li Xinggang ), and artist Ai Weiwei (who has since distanced himself from the project), the Bird’s Nest broke ground in 2003, opened in 2008, cost $465 million, and seats 91,000 people. The  “porous” structure, built as “a collective building, a public vessel” cost 50 RMB to enter, so these photos are from walking the fenced perimeter. With an upkeep of $11 million a year, there is a plan to build a shopping and entertainment complex into the structure to sustain/utilize it. However, that plan predates China winning the 2022 bid.

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国家游泳中心 Beijing National Aquatics Center

Conversely, the Water Cube (designed and built by PTW Architects, Arup, CSCEC and CCDI) has seen a renewed function: as a water park which reopened the structure in 2010. It’s set to host the 2022 Winter Olympics curling events.

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Evening

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