National Speed Skating Oval, a.k.a. Ice Ribbon, by Populous - Photo by Populous.

National Speed Skating Oval, a.k.a. Ice Ribbon, by Populous – All photos by Populous.

Architecture – The 12,000 seat stadium with a 400-metre race track hosts the speed skating events and will award 14 gold medals. Designed as a spectacular new landmark by global sports architecture firm Populous, the Ice Ribbon was created as a symbol of Chinese cultural heritage that celebrates the elegance, precision, pace and dynamic of speed skating.

National Speed Skating Oval, a.k.a. Ice Ribbon, by Populous - Photo by Populous.

Much of the inspiration for the conceptual design of the Ice Ribbon came from a traditional ice game played in old Beijing which involved a high-speed spinning ‘ice top.’” Says Tiric Chang, Principal of Populous in China and the co-Project Director of the stadium.

Having lived in Beijing since he was a child, Tiric has vivid memories of wintertime in the capital city, laughing and playing with his friends around the ice tops in the Shichahai Park ice rink.

National Speed Skating Oval, a.k.a. Ice Ribbon, by Populous - Photo by Populous.

The ribbons of the design also make reference to the floating silk ribbons of the artwork my family had dedicated their time to – which was the study and preservation of the Dunhuang Grottoes, a significant collection of Buddhist art from the Tang dynasty.”

It guided the design team to boldly extend the concept of a high-speed rotating ice top to create 22 rotating light bands for the façade, which not only represent the ice surface and the shape of the oval but also perfectly demonstrated the high-speed movement of speed skaters.”

National Speed Skating Oval, a.k.a. Ice Ribbon, by Populous - Photo by Populous.

The Ice Ribbon, the only new permanent venue for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games, stands alongside the Bird’s Nest stadium by Herzog & de Meuron and the Water Cube sports venue by PTW Architects, which were built for the 2008 Summer Olympics precinct.

National Speed Skating Oval, a.k.a. Ice Ribbon, by Populous - Photo by Populous.

Following the Games, the design’s legacy allows the transformation of the facility to serve its long-term purpose as a real hub for the community, to hold Winter festivals, public ice skating, ice hockey or private ice-based shows and events.

National Speed Skating Oval, a.k.a. Ice Ribbon, by Populous - Photo by Populous.

All photos: courtesy of Populous.

National Speed Skating Oval, a.k.a. Ice Ribbon, by Populous - Photo by Populous.