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The Best of Olympic Architecture

By Josephine Minutillo - 2014-03-21T16:34:04Z

Photograph by Marcel Lam/Arcaid/Corbis

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National Stadium (Bird's Nest) and National Aquatic Center, Beijing


Perhaps no other Olympic venue is as currently well-known around the world as Beijing’s Bird’s Nest. Designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron in collaboration with Chinese artist Ai Weiwei for the 2008 Summer Olympics, the building has striking, visible support beams that wrap around the exterior, providing both structure and façade for the bowl-shaped stadium. Spaces between the steel members are filled with ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) foil. The high-tech plastic is also used in the National Aquatics Center, right next door, to create a façade that resembles water bubbles.