Bird's Nest - Beijing National Stadium

Admission:

RMB 50, free for children under 1.2 m (3 ft 11 in)

Hours:

9am-5pm daily, may vary during event times

How to get there:

The Bird's Nest is about 400 m (1,200 ft) away from Beijing Subway Line 8 Olympic Green Station.

Phone:

(86 10) 8437 3008

The Bird's Nest (Niǎocháo, 鸟巢)—officially known as Beijing National Stadium (Guójiā Tǐyùchǎng, 国家体育场)—was easily the best known of Beijing's Olympic structures and, as such, was the crown jewel of the Olympic Green. Herzog & de Meuron's architectural masterpiece, derived from an original concept by controversial artist Ai Weiwei, features monstrous steel elements weighing up to 350 tons a piece intertwined in such a fashion that this gargantuan structure actually looks quite delicate.

The building has received both praise and criticism for its unconventional and potentially risky design—over 70% of the building's weight hangs over the audience's head. It also received a dose of controversial coverage when Ai Weiwei, disgusted with government policies in the lead up to the Olympics, publicly disowned his own role in the building's design in protest.

Since the end of the Beijing Olympics, the stadium has played host to a number of international sports events (the price tag is somewhat higher than domestic sports teams can manage) and taken turns as an indoor snow park and Segway race track (RMB 150 for 20 minutes). Outside of more international sporting events, the future of this vacant landmark remains undetermined.

The adjacent Water Cube has seen somewhat more success in post-Olympics life with part of the complex reincarnated as the Water Cube Water Park in 2010.

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