Architects: Atelier 11
Location: Beijing, China
Design Director: Xu Lei
Design Team: Ding Liqun, Gao Qinglei, Liu Heng, An Peng
Project Year: 2011
Project Area: 51,199 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of Atelier 11
With the grand opening of China Open 2011 on September 25 in Beijing, the China National Tennis Center designed by Beijing-based architectural practice Atelier 11 is officially completed and ready to welcome the top players from the world, including Robin Soderling, Li Na, and Caroline Wozniacki, and hundreds of thousands of tennis fans from China and abroad.
Following a coherent design approach, 16 sets of V-shaped columns are used to form the structure of the Center to support the grandstand and outdoor maintenance facilities and at the same time create a simplistic triangular motif for the overall design. By extracting the visual elements out of the structure itself and eliminating unnecessary decorations, the architecture displays its grace and beauty with a pure balance between form, material, and construction. Built with concrete for the main body, the architecture is given a solid volume and magnificent perception value.
Called as Diamond Arena for its shape and important status in China’s sports field, the Center can seat 15,000 audiences with its state-of-art facilities. A collapsible steel roof is designed to react on the weather change during the games. With a maximum opening of 60x70m towards the sky, it has the biggest opening scale in Asia and takes 12 minutes to perform an opening procedure. Divided into 2 layers and 4 units, the roof can be opened in the direction of east and west, and then be stacked in the storage space built under the fixed part of the roof on both ends. Using a material with good light perviousness for the roof, the center will use natural daylight to provide the lighting required by the games during the daytime; so that the requirements both on energy-saving and management cost control can be satisfied.
Besides the regular seating rows spreading around the stadium, two floors of glass boxes are placed around the bottom part of the grandstand to seat important guests or be used for special group activities. The boxes provide more exclusive seats for a better view within the limited space.
Another significant feature of the design is a circular observation deck on the 7th floor of the Center where the highest seats are located. With an open space running around the whole building, the deck allows the audience to enjoy a 360° sightseeing to the Olympic Park next to the Center, which would be an exclusive attraction to the audience during the break of the games.
The Center takes full advantage of the site to cope with the traffic issues in and outside the stadium. Audience can enter the venue via the terrace on the second floor; while staff, VIPs and players can directly get into the Center from under the terrace. So the possible conflict in the flow lines is reduced to its minimum and the comfort in the interior space can be achieved. Outside the Center, the entry and exit channels for each group are carefully divided without interference, which guarantees a well-organized traffic flow inside the stadium even if with its maximum capacity.
Text provided by Atelier 11