The 2008 Summer Olympic Games were broadcast to the world from a massive new building in Beijing designed to accommodate some 20,000 journalists and their film crews and then—post-Olympics—be transformed into a world-class convention center. In addition to its functional flexibility, the Beijing Olympic Green Convention Center achieved outstanding sustainable design standards. The building is in the heart of the Beijing Olympic Green, next to the National Stadium (“the bird’s nest”) and the National Aquatics Center (“the water cube”). In addition to serving as the international press and broadcasting center, the structure hosted the Olympic fencing and shooting competitions.
WSP provided intensive technical support on a fast-track basis to the architect, structural engineer, local design institute and the client. Services included conceptual and preliminary design for the building’s mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems, which included heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and fire protection. Because of the building’s importance, it had to be completed and turned over to the Organizing Committee one year before the Games.
WSP's design focused on the building’s ultimate post-Olympics use as an international convention and exhibition center, while accommodating its temporary use as an Olympics venue, and the associated demands on the electrical, telecommunications, air conditioning and other systems. Strategic zoning of MEP services, especially air conditioning and electrical distribution, maximized energy efficiency in a very large building with many different spaces and uses. The building is very well insulated, and energy recovery systems further boost efficiency. The ventilation system uses a heat wheel to minimize heating and cooling energy lost during air exchanges. Natural light and ventilation are also used to advantage. Water is conserved by capturing rainwater for irrigation. Further, bleed-off water from the building’s cooling tower is used for flushing toilets. The building re-opened in 2009 as the China National Convention Center, China’s largest conference venue.