Form and Function

The structural system of the Beijing National Stadium is what adds to its landmark construction. Due to the fact that Beijing is located in an earthquake zone, it was imperative that the National Stadium design be able to withstand the earth’s movement. By building the stadium in two separate parts, including a steel lattice structure and a concrete bowl separated by 50ft. the designers were able to create a structure flexible enough to handle considerable seismic activity.

The building design had to consider the seating arrangement for over 91,000 spectators. The seats and the athletic fields are housed in the inner concrete bowl, similar to an egg in a bird’s nest. The stands that hold spectators, located in the bowl, were constructed as eight different zones. Each section of the bowl is like is like a building, there are eight different “buildings” all working together; each with their own stability system. The bird’s nest is prepared to withstand an earthquake of up to magnitude 8 on the Richter Scale.

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