In case you missed the point of the opening ceremonies, I take them to mean, “OK, we’ve had a bad couple of centuries, but now WE’RE BAaak!”.
The National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest because of its shape as a tangle of beams, is the work of Pritzker Prize winning Swiss architects Herzog and deMeuron. It was designed especially for these opening ceremonies, as well as for track and field events, and a future life as a soccer stadium.
The New York Times has a super interactive graphic on Beijing, the new architecture in the city, and the growth of the city. There are special slide shows and audio commentaries by NYT architectural critic Nicolai Ouroussoff. I especially appreciate the way they explain the structure of the stadium with 24 piers supporting a network of trusses that frame the open roof. There’s also a segment on demolition and preservation of the hutongs, the traditional neighborhoods of Beijing.
Not everyone is on board with the flattery and cheers. David Brussat writes at the Providence Journal that some might call it the “Barbed Wire” stadium. He reminds us that China is still run by the Communist Party as a totalitarian state with an abysmal human rights record. But they put on such a great show…