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RTKL�s Masterplan and Urban Design for Beijing World Exhibition & Sports Center Wins International Competition

Venue designed for 2008 Olympics, reports favor Beijing as host city

Los Angeles�May 16, 2001�RTKL�s masterplan and urban design for Beijing World Exhibition & Sports Center was named the winner of an international competition sponsored by the City of Beijing as part of its bid for the 2008 Summer Olympics. A total of 16 firms from around the globe vied for the project. Reports continue to favor Beijing as the host city, expected to be officially announced by Olympic officials in July 2001.

RTKL�s plan, which encompasses the existing National Sports Center, organizes the massive 290.4-hectare (717,288-acre) site into a series of districts with extensive open space and parks. As part of its urban design services, RTKL also created the building forms for all Olympic facilities � the Main Stadium, a series of gymnasiums and halls, and the Athletes Village � together with a multi-functional hotel and two other landmark buildings, the Beijing World Trade Center and China International Exhibition Center.

Beyond this significant development, RTKL currently has 15 additional projects underway in China, including the nearly completed Shanghai Museum of Science & Technology, the host site of the October 2001 APEC World Summit. 

�We have been privileged to be invited to design a number of milestone projects within China,� said Richard Yuan AIA, RTKL�s Los Angeles-based vice president in charge of the project. �Beijing World Exhibition and Sports Center will exert a significant and far-reaching impact on the city�s development, in part due to its special function and enormous size. More important is its unique and sensitive location in the northern end of the axis line, the central spine and the very soul of Beijing for over 800 years.�

The evolution of Beijing into a world capital is largely based on a clearly defined plan, of which the most outstanding feature is its axis line design that dates back to the Yuan Dynasty in 1264. Growth and modern development have both extended the axis line and brought significant changes to the architectural cityscape on either side of the axis. Hundreds of courtyard spaces, grid pattern streets and alleys form a background and surround the Forbidden City � the Emperor�s palace in the city center. 

�The design places a new vision for China�s capital in harmony with the very essence of the traditional Chinese culture,� said Dong Xiao AIA, RTKL�s lead project designer. �The masterplan and urban design for Beijing World Exhibition & Sports Center redefines the northern end of the axis line and its significance, yet maintains its traditional symbolic meaning and character. The envisioned, exemplary new development will serve Beijing well for centuries to follow.�

RTKL�s plan concentrates sports facilities on the site of the existing Sports Center. The layout of facilities is defined by a central water pool and existing arc pool that form a spiral shape. This �open� space reflects the concept of �kong� or �void,� a unique concept of ancient Chinese philosophy. The new 80,000-seat Olympic stadium, together with a number of gymnasiums and sports halls, are connected by two story platforms and organized around this central pool. The Olympic Torch platform is located beyond the injunction of the new and old stadiums, which are linked via an overpass that arches above the lake similar to a rainbow. The overall design and organization of the complex creates a kinetic space that reflects the sprit of sport � its speed, strengths and skills. 

Further north along the axis is Central Park, the heart of the development. In contradiction to the Forbidden City, which represented absolute power and authority, this new city center is an open space � a park featuring a 4,000 hectare (9,880 acre) lake, green lawns and recreational facilities. This oval-shaped space links the national forest park to the north and the southern part of the axis line, forming a place where nature and city meet. 

Olympic Plaza is located at the southern apex of the park. Flanking the eastern and western edges is the athletes� village, a series of multi-story buildings grouped together in a courtyard pattern around meandering waterways. The park itself is the setting for Olympic training grounds as well as numerous cultural, recreational and leisure activities. Buildings are partially hidden behind hills or woods to create an ecological environment that places man and nature in harmony. Seven groups of buildings are arranged similarly to the stars in the Big Dipper, and when illuminated, the buildings point to a circular island on the axis line in the northern part of the lake.

Rising from the island is the 108-story, glass-walled Beijing World Trade Center, a monumental city landmark that shines like the polestar in the evening sky. The tower is organized into two parts and houses the trade center headquarters as well as the development�s primary hotel. Standing north on the axis line beyond the tower is an open plaza and the Chinese International Exhibition Center, an arcing transparent structure which connects the inner city with the outskirts and marks the symbolic city border.

Throughout Beijing World Exhibition and Sports Center, traffic is organized to support the concept of a campus-like pedestrian-oriented environment. Vehicular traffic is confined to perimeter roadways wherever possible. The ring road surrounding the central park is limited to pedestrians, bicycles and internal public transportation. Underground transit stations, located at the north and south end of the park are combined with city and internal shuttle bus stops, and also connect to the automated people moving system. Perimeter lots offer exhibition center parking. Semi-sunken parking lots along the edges of the athletes� village are accessed via perimeter roads. Within the sports complex, vehicular traffic is managed through a series of slightly depressed service roads and ringways that bring people to drop off points at each of the stadiums and sports facilities.

RTKL�s Los Angeles-based Beijing World Exhibition and Sports Center design team includes Richard Yuan AIA, vice president-in-charge; Bob Smith AIA, vice president-in-charge of planning; Dong Xiao AIA and Xiaoguang Liu AIA lead designers; and Anthony Stone and Grace Cheng, project designers. 

One of the world�s most influential design firms, RTKL delivers ideas for a changing world, solutions which bridge cultures and technologies. To date, the firm has amassed a portfolio of work that exceeds 1 billion square feet and extends to 60 nations. For additional information, visit



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