(BEIJING, July 14) -- As the main stadium of the Beijing Olympic Games, China's eye-catching National Stadium, also known as the "Bird's Nest," is expecting the passionate moment when the sacred flame burns bright within its walls, representing the honor of the Chinese people.
The Bird's Nest covers an area of 20.4 hectares in the Beijing Olympic Green, and has a floor space of 258,000 square meters. The stadium, which is 333 meters long, 280 meters wide and 69.21 meters high, will seat 91,000 spectators during the Games.
The National Stadium is a colossal saddle-shaped elliptic steel structure with prominent girders. The main body of the stadium has a design life of 100 years.
In March of 2002, the Chinese government launched a design competition worldwide for the National Stadium. The "Bird's Nest" blueprint, which was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron in collaboration with ArupSport and China Architecture Design & Research Group, won the competition. The stadium was included into the 100 most influential designs in the architecture category by TIME magazine earlier this year.
As one of the most important stadia for the 2008 Olympic Games, the Bird's Nest fully represents a "Green Olympics," a "People's Olympics" and a "High-tech Olympics." The venue is equipped with a solar power system on top of its ticket office and a water collection system that processes 58,000 tons of rainfall annually for irrigation and cleaning purposes. In addition, with its barrier-free design and facilities, the Bird's Nest embodies the people-oriented nature of the Games.
The stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, athletics competitions, and football finals. After the Games, the national landmark will become a large-scale sports and entertainment facility for the residents of Beijing.