EASTERN design office + KAWAGUCHI & ENGINEERS shared with us their project, Light Thread, China Agricultural University’s Gymnasium / Wrestling Arena for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. During the Olympic Games, the wrestling arena has a 10,000-person capacity. After the Olympic Games, 4,000 temporary seats can be taken out and the interior can be refitted with three arenas, a pool, and 6000 seats to transform the space into a gymnasium complex. Since this building will come into the possession of the Chinese Agriculture University, they sought to create a condition that allows the special requirements of the Olympic Wrestling Arena and the functional features of a building for the Chinese Agriculture University to both be fulfilled in a single construction. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Light Thread symbolizes a pulse of multiple lives. This innovative idea brings a completely new architectural form by its lighting and illuminating effect and by its construct method, which nobody has ever seen in the world. “Light Thread” is cut out three-dimensionally from a rectangular concrete body. This quite rational, beautiful, simple and strong method creates architecture economically. According to a lighting condition, some “Light Thread” makes an area of ceramic printed glass with various characteristic patterns on it, which introduces sunlight to inside. It seems as like a nature wraps the architecture in grass with its flowers and fruits. Its complex appearance reminds an eloquent life of plants. We can find an amazingly eloquent light from there. As like a light in forest this architecture is luxuriance.
The dynamic “Light Thread” on this architecture is made by a flat bar type steel that fits within a wall thickness of 400mm. It composes a very stable triangular lattice with sewing the slit. By this method “Light Thread” forms wall structure with keeping flexibility of direction. And it enables to realize various design of the slit in a huge architectural scale. This structural system is a very unique one in the world.
A landscape of this architecture is soils, roots and water, which bring up a forest, that is to say earth. It is an abstracted “Leaf” which comes down on the earth. The landscape of abstracted “Leaf” becomes a center of the east campus. According to the master plan concept of the campus of China Agricultural University, high-rise buildings areas are arranged on the perimeter of the campus. Therefore, the roof and the landscape of this architecture can be seen well from the high-rise buildings. Beautiful scenery of “Leafscape” in the east campus with beautiful woods of gingko, maple tree, white birch and oak etc.
This architecture is a gymnasium of “4 + 4”. There are four arenas and four halls inside. Four arenas are namely a main arena, a sub arena, a swimming pool and a martial arts arena. Four halls are namely a dance studio, a training room, a music room and a conference hall. The architecture has an universal rectangular plan. It enables a rational coordination between various functions during the Olympics and the Paralympics economically. And also, it will realize long life facility usability as a proud Cultural Gymnasium of China Agricultural University. Moreover, almost of the arenas and the halls locate on ground floor level, which enables to use the gymnasium together with outer playground.
“Light Thread” expresses the pregnant working of nature in four seasons. The form of this architecture expresses a power welled from the earth and the roots. A bounding power of the plants growing up from the earth into the sky. A tube thrusting up toward the sky. Bounding China. China thrusting up from the earth toward the sky. Besides having a stable base, this form has an origin in plants, which roots have a strength to grow taking root in the earth, which sprout in great force, and which thrust spontaneously up toward the sky.
- The sprouts, the fresh green, the murmur of a stream, the birds on trees and the butterflies in spring.
- The fruits, the blooming trees, the fluttering leaves, the clouds at dusk, the fairly, the plenty of bunches and the fern in summer.
- The red leaves, the ears of rice, the beans, the color of red and yellow, the variety of shade, the copious crops, the fields, the falling leaves and the mushrooms in autumn.
- The groves, the ivies, the beaches, the rainy nights, the snow, the mist, the fog, the stars, the crystals, the bulbs, the roots in winter.
To create monumentality as a wrestling arena for the Olympics, this architecture abstracts a physical motion, intertwining arms, legs and bodies of wrestling games. A power of this great wall with “Light Thread” functions as a structural wall that memorializes the Olympics wrestling arena. The biggest structural span of this architecture is 144×90m. A vertical structural element to support this large space is nothing but the wall of “Thin-walled spatial structure” We adopt “Semi-rigid parabolic truss” optimizing a rigidity of four sidewalls, so that the roof span of 90m can be realized efficiently and economically. “Semi-rigid parabolic truss” is composed of concrete slabs to share a horizontal rigidity and a parabolic truss to share a roof load.
“Light Thread” is made up by a flat bar type steel that fits within a wall thickness of 400mm, which stitches up a triangular lattice. The lattice components are anchored in a concrete. The anchor plate covers wall headers of “Light Thread” which is used also as a formwork plate to improve construction efficiency. The wall of “Thin-walled spatial structure” and interior skeleton are made of cast-in-place concrete. The roof beams are made of steel. Therefore, a production of shop drawings for a steel work and a fittings work a manufacturing in factories can be done during a construction period of cast-in-place concrete. The construction period can be used quite efficiently to contribute to a perfect preparation for the Olympics. A utilization of the three-dimensional effect by each structural component contributes to design a long span structure economically.
Design Team: EASTERN design office + KAWAGUCHI & ENGINEERS
Location: Beijing, China
Project: Light thread [China Agricultural University's Gymnasium(Wrestling Arena for The Olympics 2008)]
Total floor area: 30,000m2