Pragmatism wins Olympic tender

Author: | Published: 1 Jul 2008
The Chinese National Stadium, fondly referred to as the bird's nest: practicality rather than the law was key to winning the contract

At the auspicious time of 8:08 pm on 8.8.08 (the number eight being associated with prosperity in China), the Beijing Olympics will open in the iconic bird's nest National Stadium before a television audience of nearly four billion. From the moment the design was selected, the National Stadium has been the most prominent symbol of the Beijing Olympics. It has also come to represent China's ascension to the ranks of leading global economic powers.

The symbolism of the National Stadium is hard to overstate, and it has received the full attention of the government. There will be no rush to complete the infrastructure as there was in Athens in 2004. There has never been any question that it would not be done on time –...