28 april

Introducing Beijing's Newest Olympic Facility for the First Time, Again: The National Speed Skating Arena

Beijing's newest Olympic facility was announced yesterday with the public unveiling of designs for a streamlined speed skating arena that may already seem familiar to local residents.

The National Speed Skating Arena has been designed with a unique light-up exterior that has been likened to "ice silk ribbons" by the Chinese press.

The arena will be 220 meters-long from north to south and 160 meters-wide from east to west, housing a regulation track 400 meters-long and have room for 12,000 spectators. At 55 meters-tall, the arena will be four stories high and have two basement levels.

The permanent facility will complete its construction by the end of 2019, and then host its first competition the following year.

The speed skating facility is the only new building planned to be built in Beijing for the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics. The other 11 pre-existing Beijing facilities that will be used for the Olympics are hold-overs from when the city last hosted the Olympics in 2008. The remaining winter sporting events will be hosted in nearby cities such as Zhangjiakou.

The striking design of the new speed skating arena may remind Beijing residents of another evocative Olympic arena; the Bird's Nest. And yet, even if we look past the use of balanced asymmetry to bring a compelling feel to the yonic aperture, designs for the new Olympic speed skating arena may already seem familiar because they had been shown before.

In 2015, Beijing unveiled the design for a speed skating arena that will house events for the upcoming Winter Olympics. This time likened to a "silkworm chrysalis," construction for the speed skating arena was to have started last year, and finished by this year.

Similar to the current design, the previous speed skating arena also featured a striking light-up design that prominently stood out at night:

However, these plans were unceremoniously dumped when a design competition for the speed skating arena was announced last summer, leading us to Tuesday's announcement.

We imagine the facility we have to be eventually built because China needs a place to win gold medals. As NetEase put it, the future speed skating arena is the place where you "will definitely hear the stately sound of our national anthem."

But while the gold medal-winningChinese women's team will have an excellent place to skate in Beijing, the rest of us won't be so lucky. This past winter's mild temperatures made outdoor skating next to impossible.

Source: The Beijinger