Beijing Olympic Park
Beijing, People's Republic of China
Studio Pei Zhu / Urbanus 2007
The building, located on the northern end of the cities central axis, servea as the control and data center for the 2008 Olympic Games. At other times it will accommodate a virtual museum and an exhibition center for manufacturers of digital products.
The concept for Digital Beijing was developed through reconsideration and reflection on the role of contemporary architecture in the information era. Unlike its neighbors, PTW’s Water Cube and Herzog & de Meuron’s Bird’s Nest, Digital Beijing looks to use simple building construction and materials. A dark stone, quarried in the northern part of China, covers most of the exterior, with a glass curtain wall covering the east façade.
In contrast, the interior is covered with a composite fiberglass material develop by the architect.
In the future, it is expected that the building will be constantly under renovation as it evolves to keep pace with technology.
The project has been widely regarded as one of the great, yet unknown, structures on the Olympic campus, but also has its critics:
"Next door is Digital Beijing, an ominous-sounding "data and control centre" by the Chinese architect Pei Zhu. It is shaped, cheesily, like a mainframe computer from the 1960s, cut with linear glass strips evoking a circuit board. Four gloomy stone slabs, divided by glass atria, do an excellent Orwellian Ministry of Truth impression. It's slightly less spirit-crushing inside." - Tom Dyckhoff of Times Online
How to visit
Digital Beijing is located just north of the National Aquatic Center, better known as the “Water cube”. The easiest way to get to the Digital Beijing building, and the rest of the 2008 Olympic Green, is by subway. Once in Beijing, take Subway Line 10 to Beitucheng Station and transfer to Subway Line 8. Get off at the second stop, Olympic Green, and walk southeast.
Based on the high security surrounding the 2008 Olympic Games, access to the building is ever-changing. During the Games, you will be able to view the exterior landscape. Following the Games, the building is expected to be open to the public to allow access to the virtual museum and exhibition center. Look for an update following the Games.