Introducing the Bird's Nest (Niao Chao)
Beijing National Stadium, colloquially as the Bird's Nest, is a stadium in Beijing, China. The stadium was designed for use throughout the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. Located in the Olympic Green, the $423 million stadium is the world's largest steel structure. The design was awarded to a submission from the Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron in April 2003, after a bidding process that included 13 final submissions. The design, which originated from the study of Chinese ceramics, implemented steel beams in order to hide supports for the retractable roof; giving the stadium the appearance of a "Bird's nest". Ai Weiwei, the artistic consultant, played a critical role in pushing the design to have unique Chinese characteristics. The retractable roof was later removed from the design after inspiring the stadium's most recognizable aspect. Ground was broken in December 2003 and the stadium officially opened in June 2008.