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Constructing for Beijing 2008 Olympics

As Beijing prepares to host athletes throughout the world to participate in the 2008 Olympic Games, the city's Olympic new look begins to unfold.

Of the 31 new and refurbished venues for the Olympics, the iconic "Bird's Nest" National Stadium and the "Water Cube" Aquatics Center are the landmark showpieces.

The main stadium for the Games, the National Stadium is located at the Olympic Green, east of the city's north-south axis and to the north, covering an area of 258,000 square meters (63.8 acres).

Its twisting structure, which gives the 91,000-seat stadium its nickname, is made of 45,000 tons of steel. It will host the opening and closing ceremonies, track and field events and football finals.

The "Bird's Nest" has the world's most advanced screening and omni-directional systems and mobile seating. It will be used for large sports events, conventional competitions and non-competitive events as well as provide wide-ranging entertainment and sporting facilities to residents after the Games.

The glittering National Aquatics Center is another highlight of the Olympic Green. It covers an area of more than 65,000 square meters (16.1 acres) and boasts 17,000 seats. The center will be a venue for swimming, diving, synchronized swimming and water polo games during the Games. After the Games, the center will become a water recreation center for the public.

Together, the two structures are the heart of the 2008 Games layout and reflect the Chinese philosophy of harmonious balance. The steel stadium is circular and red hued. The water-covered swimming center is square and blue. Fire and water, masculine and feminine. An aerial photograph of the site reveals the two key Olympic venues forming a giant yin and yang symbol.

The north-south city axis, which runs through Tian'anmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Drum and Bell Towers, perfectly dissects the two modern landmarks, which are born from a mix of deep-rooted Chinese culture and free-flowing modern ideas.

Environmentally friendly technology and materials have been used to construct the new venues and 69 new energy "schemes" have been implemented, including the use of solar, geothermal, waste water, wind and other sources.

Of the 31 Beijing venues, 12 are new, 11 are older buildings being refurbished and eight are temporary structures. Except for the National Stadium due to be completed next March, all the venues will be completed by the end of the year, with a total of 300,000 migrant workers making up the construction squad.

Captions: Constructing for 2008 Olympics

Photos by China Features and text by Rong Jiaojiao (China Features)

1. More than 5300 workers are still busy working on May 1st, 2007, the International Labor Day, at the National Stadium, which is also called Bird's Nest covering an area of 258,000 square meters (63.8 acres) in the Olympic Green and. Photo by Luo Xiaoguang

2. A view of the National Gymnasium (front) and the National Stadium (Bird's Nest). Photo by Luo Xiaoguang

3. Construction site of the National Conference Center, a venue for the 2008 Olympic Games. Photo by Luo Xiaoguang

4. Welding at the Olympic Center Stadium, where the 2008 Olympic football matches will be held. Photo by Luo Xiaoguang

5. Installing facility inside a gymnasium. Photo by Luo Xiaoguang

6. Female workers also contribute to construction of 2008 Olympic projects. Photo by Cui Xinyu

7. A 60-year-old worker feels happy to work for 2008 Olympic. Photo by James Zeng Huang

8. Workers take a break outside the National Aquatics Center, a highlight of the Olympic Green and a venue for swimming, diving, synchronized swimming and water polo games during the 2008 Olympics. After the games, the center will become a water recreation center for the public. Photo by Ma Yubing

9. Night scene of the National Stadium, which is also known as "Bird's Nest" and functions as the main stadium for the 2008 Olympics. It will host the opening and closing ceremonies, track and field events and football finals. Photo by Xing Guangli



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