The Beijing National Stadium, also known as the "Bird's Nest", is located at the southern part of the Olympic Green in Beijing, in the northeast of the city. As the main stadium for the 29th Olympiad in 2008, the National Stadium covers an area of 258,000 square meters (64 acres) and accommodates a maximum of 91,000 spectators with a permanent capacity of 80,000.
The stadium looks like a nest from the outside, symbolizing a cradle holding the hopes of mankind for the future. The main body of the National Stadium is a colossal saddle-shaped elliptic steel structure weighing 42,000 tons. It is 333 meters (1092 feet) long from north to south, 294 meters(964 feet) wide from east to west, and 69 meters (226 feet) tall. The stadium was designed to remain functional for 100 years. Its fire resistance capability is first-rate, and it can withstand an eight-magnitude earthquake.
The spatial effect of the stadium is radical and yet simple and of an almost archaic immediacy. There is no exterior facade. But it lies open and exposed to allow for natural ventilation of the stadium, which is the most important aspect of the stadium's design. The main body's elements support each other and converge into a grid formation, almost like the interlocking branches and twigs of a bird's nest. The design meets all the functional and technical requirements of an Olympic Stadium, but without communicating the insistent sameness of technocratic architecture dominated by large spans and digital screens.
The Bird 's Nest is a complex structure that posed great difficulties for its designers and constructors. The workers had to overcome tremendous engineering and technical challenges in the process of construction. Because of the limited time to finish construction, workers had to defy both rainy and cold conditions in the winter to continue their work. The huge workload combined with the short timeframe caused a lot of tension. But finally the project that was started on December 24, 2003, was eventually completed in June, 2008, just in time for the Olympic Games.
During the 2008 Olympics, the stadium successfully hosted the opening and closing ceremonies, track and field competitions, and other events. It is the iconic structure of the Beijing Olympic Games and has become a recognized landmark worldwide.