V-shaped concrete columns illuminated by blue lights give a tennis centre in Beijing the appearance of a spaceship ready for launch.
Chinese architects Atelier 11 recently completed the circular Diamond Arena, which seats up to 15,000 spectators and will host international tennis matches.
The building features a retractable steel roof of two parts that can be opened from either east or west to both shelter and shade the court inside.
An observation deck occupies the sixth floor of the building and overlooks the neighbouring Olympic Park - see stories about Beijing Olympic buildings here.
We've published a few impressive sports stadiums from China recently - see our earlier stories about swimming arenas in Shanghai, a trio of stadiums in Shenzhen and a football and athletics arena also in Shenzhen.
Photography is by Zhang Guangyuan and Gao Qinglei.
Here's some more information from Atelier 11:
Diamond Arena -- China National Tennis Center by Atelier 11 Completed
With the grand opening of China Open 2011 on September 25 in Beijing, the China National Tennis Center designed by Beijing-based architectural practice Atelier 11 is officially completed and ready to welcome the top players from the world, including Robin Soderling, Li Na, and Caroline Wozniacki, and hundreds of thousands of tennis fans from China and abroad.
Following a coherent design approach, 16 sets of V-shaped columns are used to form the structure of the Center to support the grandstand and outdoor maintenance facilities and at the same time create a simplistic triangular motif for the overall design.
By extracting the visual elements out of the structure itself and eliminating unnecessary decorations, the architecture displays its grace and beauty with a pure balance between form, material, and construction. Built with concrete for the main body, the architecture is given a solid volume and magnificent perception value.
Called as Diamond Arena for its shape and important status in China’s sports field, the Center can seat 15,000 audiences with its state-of-art facilities.
A collapsible steel roof is designed to react on the weather change during the games. With a maximum opening of 60x70m towards the sky, it has the biggest opening scale in Asia and takes 12 minutes to perform an opening procedure.
Divided into 2 layers and 4 units, the roof can be opened in the direction of east and west, and then be stacked in the storage space built under the fixed part of the roof on both ends.
Using a material with good light perviousness for the roof, the Center will use natural daylight to provide the lighting required by the games during the daytime; so that the requirements both on energy-saving and management cost control can be satisfied.
Besides the regular seating rows spreading around the stadium, two floors of glass boxes are placed around the bottom part of the grandstand to seat important guests or be used for special group activities.
The boxes provide more exclusive seats for a better view within the limited space.
Another significant feature of the design is a circular observation deck on the 7th floor of the Center where the highest seats are located.
With an open space running around the whole building, the deck allows the audience to enjoy a 360° sightseeing to the Olympic Park next to the Center, which would be an exclusive attraction to the audience during the break of the games.
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The Center takes full advantage of the site to cope with the traffic issues in and outside the stadium.
Audience can enter the venue via the terrace on the second floor; while staff, VIPs and players can directly get into the Center from under the terrace.
So the possible conflict in the flow lines is reduced to its minimum and the comfort in the interior space can be achieved.
Outside the Center, the entry and exit channels for each group are carefully divided without interference, which guarantees a well-organized traffic flow inside the stadium even if with its maximum capacity.
Architects: Atelier 11, Beijing,
ChinaDesign Director: Xu Lei
Design Team: Ding Liqun, Gao Qinglei, Liu Heng, An Peng
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Construction Drawing: Xu Lei, An Peng, Gao Qinglei, Ding Liqun, Li Lei, Liu Heng, Zhu Yin, Jin Ding
Construction Period: 2009-2011
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Site Area: 170,020 sqm
Construction Area: 51,199 sqm
Client: Beijing Shi Ao Co., Ltd.
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