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Beijing National Stadium
Located at the south of the Olympic Green, Beijing National Stadium costs US$423 million. After a bidding process including 13 final submissions in April 2003, Herzog & de Meuron from Swiss, an architecture firm, got the chance. 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. The retractable roof was later removed from the design after inspiring the stadium's most recognizable aspect. The stadium has a gross volume of three million cubic meters and is considered to be the world's largest enclosed space. It is also the world's largest steel structure with 26km of unwrapped steel used. Ground was broken on 24 December 2003 and the stadium officially opened on 28 June 2008.
The stadium has two independent structures, a red concrete seating bowl and the outer steel frame around it at a 50ft distance. The stadium extends 333 meters from north to south and 294 meters from east to west, with a height of 69.2 meters. The eastern and western stands are higher than northern and southern stands, in order to improve sightlines. A 24-hour per day rainwater collector is located near the stadium; after water is purified, it is used throughout and around the stadium. Pipes placed under the playing surface gather heat in the winter to warm the stadium and coldness in the summer to cool the stadium. Temperature and airflow of every surface were optimized to increase ventilation. There is also a large mixed-use retail development beneath the stadium featuring shops, restaurants, cinemas, a health club and parking.
Beijing National Stadium hosted the opening and closing ceremonies, athletic events, and football final of the 2008 Summer Olympics. The stadium also hosted the opening and closing ceremonies and athletic events of the 2008 Summer Paralympics. Though designed for track & field events of the Olympics, the stadium also continued to host sporting events, vocal concert and other large-scale important activities.