Olympic Stadium Takes Cue from Birds

At 1,093 feet long and 971 feet wide, this arena resembles one gargantuan nest.

Talk about an elaborate nest. The National Stadium of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, host to the event’s Opening and Closing ceremonies, is 1,093 feet long and 971 feet wide, and can hold 91,000 people. Though avian homes take many forms and are made from an array of materials, it’s hard to miss the connection here, particularly with the arena’s well-known Bird’s Nest moniker. The architects, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, made it, too: “The spaces in the structure of the stadium are filled with a translucent membrane, just as birds stuff the spaces between the woven twigs of their nests with soft filler.”

This story originally ran as “Nesting Instinct” in the March-April 2013 issue of Audubon magazine.