Populous gets its skates on for the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022

24 February 2022



Dynamic ‘Ice Ribbon’ arena hosts Olympic speed skating

In 2016, international venue and stadia specialist, Populous was selected from over 60 firms worldwide for its design for the National Speed Skating Oval (NSSO, also known as the ‘Ice Ribbon’) in Beijing for this year’s Winter Olympics. In a huge collaborative drive, the practice worked up the schematic design in only 12 weeks to allow construction to begin on schedule. The win represented Populous’ involvement in their 12th Olympic Games, both summer and winter.

The ‘Ice Ribbon’ presents a distinctive façade that celebrates the elegance, precision, pace and dynamic of speed skating. The design facilitates an intense arena atmosphere, where every move and every sound from skates on ice is seen and heard by all at the Oval. The venue’s architectural and place-making credentials are appropriate to the architectural iconography of the Olympic Park, complementing the majestic steel structure of the ‘Bird’s Nest’ and the dynamic membrane structure of the ‘Water Cube’.

Twenty-two separate light strands (or ribbons) flow up and around the Oval, cocooning it to a height of some 33.8 metres. This ‘shell’ secures a high level of visitor comfort and amenity, in keeping with it being the world-leading speed skating venue for competitors and spectators. At night, the façade creates an exciting spectacle, with each of the strands becoming dynamic ribbons of light, able to change to an endless array of lighting programs.

The site is of approximately 17 hectares and includes a 400m racing track with an ice surface of the world’s highest standards. It accommodates 12,000 spectators (8000 permanent and 4000 temporary seats) positioned close to the action.

After the Games, the design’s legacy allows the transformation of the facility to serve its long-term purpose, catering for public skating and ice sports as well as speed skating.

This tender was first published by Tenderstream on 18.01.2017 here

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