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Olympic Stadium – Bird’s Nest: Accurate Modeling Ensures Architects’ Dreams Come True

The opening and closing ceremonies at the recent Winter Olympics in Beijing gave us another chance to view the distinctive Beijing National Stadium – known affectionately as the ‘Bird’s Nest’.

The facility earned that nickname from its irregular structure. The roof is saddle-shaped while the façade is inclined vertically at approximately 13 degrees.

Building the Bird’s Nest demanded new and advanced design and detailing methods. At one point, the designers removed the top roof and enlarged the area of the roof opening. This reduced the total steel weight from 45,000 to 42,000 tons.

The interwoven structural elements of the façade produce a single surface that seems to blur the primary and secondary structures. The largest span is more than 343 meters.

Modeling and detailing the most complex and challenging parts of the steel roof took one year. The Chinese steel company Jinggong worked on the roof to produce symmetrical 3D views of its members and connections. They accomplished this using Tekla Structures’ mirroring function.

The designers used Tekla Structures software in the detailing and workshop design of the most complex and challenging parts of the steel structure.

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