Sunday, 28 September 2014

The Giant Egg and The Bird's Nest of Beijing

Beijing Giant Nature Structures. Musically Gifted Chick. Two's a Company, Three's a Crowd.

I visited the Beijing National Stadium in 2012 (this is the stadium that hosted the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games). It's known affectionately as the Bird's Nest (鸟巢) because of its likeness to a bird's nest. This probably is the artist's inspiration for the concept.

Bird's Nest, Beijing Olympic Park, Beijing, China

In another day, I also visited National Centre for the Performing Arts, which was nicknamed The Giant Egg (巨蛋). Again because of its shape.

The former structure was designed by a Chinese artist Ai Weiwei while the latter one was designed by the French architect Paul Andreu. Both were completed and ready for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

While these 2 concepts were designed separately, I wouldn't think one has to do with the other. Still, I can't help but wonder if the Giant Egg would fit into the giant Bird's Nest. Would it?

 Here are the facts and figures.

Birds Egg

Giant Egg212m114m
Bird's Nest330m220m

It fits!!!! Otherwise, the Egg would has no home for hatching. While it fits into the Nest, it doesn't leave too much room for the birds couple. The chick, after it's hatched, is surely smaller than the egg. So that's ok. As this is Beijing, birds are used to smaller spaces anyway. HK birds would find this Nest a palace indeed. I know for a fact that the chick comes out of this Egg is very musically gifted. Its songs are above average. Its chirping, musics to our ears.

Alternatively, let's compare them using google satellite photos. Needless to say, the scales of these 2 images are identical.

the national centre for the performing arts, beiijing, China Beijing national stadium, China

Not so squeezy ?

I think it fits better if the egg is placed into the nest sideways as shown in the photo above (as supposed to how I suggested in the diagram).

2 such eggs might be able to fit into the nest, but 3 might be difficult. As they say, two's a company, three's a crowd. So goes people as goes eggs.

The last question I have is, which came first, the Nest or the Egg? Based on the official grand opening dates, apparently the egg came first ! Although only 6 months earlier with an egg without a nest (NCPA opened on Dec 2007 while the Bird's Nest opened on 28 June 2008).

Also, note the alignments of all the important public buildings with the North-South Axis from the Forbidden City to the modern Water Cube (National Aquatics Centre), the Bird's Nest and the Giant Egg, to name just a few.

This North-South Axis alignment is an ancient celestial / astrological principle that laid down in Ancient China where the construction of such important places as imperial palaces, or the Temple of Heaven were followed. It seems the modern day Beijing architects / city planners are also following this principle (feng shui). I don't know if this is some unspoken building policy in the city planning bureau, or it's simply because that since Beijing city is laid out the grid along this axis and so it's natural that the modern buildings would align itself this way.

You could think of Beijing public buildings like giant compass needles floating on a giant bowl of water, and they all align themselves in N-S direction.

Temple of Heaven aligns in N-S axis, Beijing, China
The 3 important structures and the central path or the Imperial Walkway of
Temple of Heaven are all aligned in the N-S compass directions***

*** For those who have eyes of eagle will notice that all the buildings with N-S alignments are off by a few degrees in the google maps by the same amount in the same orientation. I believe google maps showing geographical north while the ancient Chinese used magnetic north (because they relied on the magnetic compasses to determine directions).

Ok, now that Beijing has the Bird's Nest and the Giant Egg, what Beijing needs now is a building looks like a giant bird to complete the theme.

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