Populous To Design Beijing's National Speed Skating Arena For 2022 Winter Olympic Games

26.05.2017 Populous
Populous To Design Beijing's National Speed Skating Arena For 2022 Winter Olympic Games

Following a rigorous worldwide design competition, Populous have been selected to design the prestigious National Speed Skating Arena (NSSA) in Beijing: the main venue and the city’s only permanent new venue, for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.


Global leaders in sports and entertainment design, and the official architectural and overlay design services provider to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Populous has been involved in 12 summer and winter Olympic Games. These include Sochi’s Fisht Stadium which hosted the 2014 opening and closing ceremonies; London 2012; and Sydney 2000. Populous is currently assisting with the Paris bid for 2024.

‘The Ice Ribbon’, as the arena has already affectionately been named courtesy of its distinctive and poetic façade, evokes and celebrates the elegance, precision, pace and drama that is speed skating.

Paul Henry, Populous Senior Principal is excited about this Olympic project and sees a tremendous long-term gain for the city of Beijing and China. “This is a compelling and expressive design, which will ensure an intense arena atmosphere. And crucially, following the Games’ Closing Ceremony, the arena will live on with real purpose, becoming a hub for the community, drawing people together and supporting China’s ongoing involvement and excellence in winter sports,” he said.

Twenty-two separate light strands (or ribbons) flow up and around the arena, cocooning it to a height of some 31.6 metres. The design establishes a high level of visitor comfort and amenity within the stadium, in keeping with it being the world leading speed skating venue for competitors and spectators. At night, the facade creates an exciting spectacle, with each of the strands becoming dynamic ribbons of light, able to change to an endless array of lighting programs.

Populous Director of the Asia Pacific region, Andrew James, highlights the venue’s architectural and place making credentials, saying, “The venue will be a fitting addition to the architectural iconography of Olympic Park, adding to the exciting and enduring drawcard for China and international visitors alike”.

In the lead up to, and during the Games, the NSSA will be the home of Olympic competition and training for speed skating events. Importantly, the legacy of the venue will support China’s ongoing commitment to excellence in winter sports, transforming after the 2022 Games to cater for public skating and ice sports as well as speed skating.

One of the world’s foremost authorities in the sport and special event industry, Jerry Anderson, Populous Senior Principal, says “This stunning arena consolidates Populous’ unparalleled Olympic experience, gained over 12 summer and winter Games. The design of the National Speed Skating Arena is therefore the latest culmination of this history and our globally recognised innovations in sports facility design, creating the most effective and inspiring state of the art speed skating venue for Beijing’s Winter Games.”
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