by Jincy IypeDec 17, 2022
For the first time in modern history, Beijing in China stands in a unique position of being the first city to host both the Summer and Winter edition of the Olympics, even if it is 14 years apart. Commencing on February 4, 2022, the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 start with the lighting of the ceremonial cauldron with the flame handed over by Greece. Taking advantage of its unique position as a host city for the second time, Beijing will be reusing some of the iconic stadiums that were created for the Olympic Games Beijing 2008. This move was a critical decision taken by the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIV Olympiad's (BOCOG) Sustainability Plan. However, there are new arenas created specifically for winter sports that were not part of the 2008 summer games. The venues have been divided into three zones, namely Beijing, Yanqing, and Zhangjiakou. Yanqing is 75 kilometres northwest of Beijing's city centre, and is well known for its mountains, hot springs, national parks, ski resorts, and a section of the Great Wall of China. Yanqing's Olympic venues will stage alpine skiing, bobsled, luge, and skeleton. Zhangjiakou is further northwest of Beijing. A newly constructed infrastructure intercity railway between Beijing-Zhangjiakou was specially constructed to transfer guests between all three venue clusters. Zhangjiakou's venues will stage the majority of the ski and snowboarding events at the 2022 Winter Games. As the Olympics kick off in China’s capital, STIR looks at the new stadiums and other significant venues hosting the Games.
The National Stadium
Also known as ‘The Bird's Nest’ due to its unique façade design, this iconic stadium was designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. Having hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the venue will do the same for the Winter Olympics 2022; however, no sporting events will take place at this venue.
National Aquatics Centre
This is popularly known as ‘The Water Cube’, a name attributed to its purpose and box-like appearance. Designed by a consortium made up of Australian architectural studio PTW Architects, and Arup, the water cube will transform into an ‘Ice Cube’that will host the curling competition. Following the 2022 Games, the venue will continue to be used for both winter and summer sports, switching between the two depending on the season.
National Indoor Stadium
Nicknamed ‘The Fan’, the stadium form is a reference to the traditional Chinese folding fan. Designed by German studio, Glöckner Architekten GmbH, the National Indoor Stadium will share hosting duties for the ice hockey competition at the 2022 Olympics with Wukesong Sports Centre.
Wukesong Sports Centre
Officially known as the Cadillac Center, the venue hosted the basketball tournament at the 2008 Olympics, and has since been used as a multipurpose arena for sports and other activities. This year it will serve as the main indoor venue for ice hockey.
Capital Indoor Stadium
The oldest of all the stadiums, the arena was built in 1968, and is where the infamous table tennis matches between China and the United States were staged as part of the ping pong diplomacy exchange program in 1971. The Capital Indoor Stadium will host the figure skating and short track speed skating competitions.
The National Speed Skating Oval
Much like all the preceding stadiums, the National Speed Skating Oval is more commonly referred to as ‘The Ice Ribbon’. It is the only new stadium to be built on the Beijing Olympic Green. Designed by global architectural and design practice Populous and the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design, it will host the speed skating competition at Beijing 2022.
Big Air Shougang
Another new structure is the Big Air Shougang, lit up at Shougang Park, and has perhaps the most unique building profiles. Built on a former steel mill site, the stadium shares a skyline with four industrial cooling towers. It is also the world's first permanent venue for Big Air and will stage the freestyle skiing and snowboard Big Air competitions at the Games. As part of the Olympics legacy and sustainable format, the venue will continue to be used for a variety of different purposes including other sports competitions and athlete training, as well as cultural events.