Friday, December 9, 2011

Beijing Day 02 - Bird Nest 鸟巢 Watercube 水立方 Matrix

Beijing National Stadium - Fondly known as the Bird's Nest 鸟巢
Herzog and DeMeuron

This is a feat of engineering, an aesthetic marvel, and an uber-green machine to boot. What we love most about the stadium’s design is its integration of a myriad complex systems all rolled into such an aesthetically and conceptually simple and stunning object. The Swiss Architects describe it best, saying, “The spatial effect of the stadium is novel and radical and yet simple and of an almost archaic immediacy. Its appearance is pure structure. Facade and structure are identical.”

Water Cube (National Aquatic Centre) 水立方
PTW Architects

The design concept of the “water cube” combines the symbolism of the architecture and the unique water bubble structure, and build an appropriate complement to the National Stadium.

The design of the Water Cube is based on the patterns of cells and soap bubbles. ETFE pillows create a bubble effect. The bubbles collect solar energy and help heat the swimming pools.

Designed for swimming, diving, synchronized swimming, and water-polo

Digital Beijing / Matrix
Studio Pei-Zhu

Digital Beijing, a nine-story, 1-million-square-foot building, rises solemnly just northwest of the effervescent Water Cube and the curvaceous Bird’s Nest. The building will serve as the control center for the Olympics; home base for technical and security teams; and hub for the routers, computers, and servers needed to run the Games in a digital age.

Inspired by computer circuitry, Zhu and Wu organized the building into four parallel slabs that recall a set of motherboards. The three western slabs, in fact, house electronic equipment, and the gaps between them provide ventilation for the machinery inside. Windowless elevations on the north and south protect the equipment from daylight. The easternmost slab serves essentially as an office building, accommodating people, not machines. From a distance, the building appears as a somber sentinel clad in gray granite.

But as you get closer, you notice the jazzy vertical ribbons of glass recessed in the west facade and the bands of glass set in the ground that act as horizontal continuations of the ribbons and light up at night. Most people enter the building on the east side—facing the Olympic venues—which Zhu and Wu conceived as the inverse of the west elevation. Here, glass replaces granite as the dominant material, and the zigzagging ribbons of glass have become vertical streams of LEDs.

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