- Although the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, involves a multitude of sports venues, only one new facility will remain after the Games end. Designed by global architecture firm Populous, the National Speed Skating Oval is the only new permanent venue built for the 2022 Games and has already been used for events such as the women's 3,000-meter and men's 5,000-meter events.
- Dubbed the "Ice Ribbon," the venue can seat 12,000 spectators and has 12,000 square meters of ice surface, including a 400-meter ice racing track. Populous' Brisbane, Australia, office headed the design phase and construction of the venue finished in 2021.
- Populous was selected to design the stadium in 2017 after winning a competition among over 60 firms, and completed the schematic for the structure in 12 weeks. This is the 14th Olympic Games the company has contributed to.
The Ice Ribbon site covers 17 hectares, or about 1.8 million square feet, and features 22 light strands that illuminate the facility's exterior, according to a press release. The stadium will serve as a permanent community hub and venue for ice sports and shows, according to the release.
The facility was designed and built with sustainability in mind. For example, the venue uses "carbon dioxide transcritical direct cooling ice technology" to make ice for the stadium, according to an arena fact sheet, which will have the carbon-reduction effect of planting 1.2 million trees.
More emphasis is being put on the environmental impact of the Olympics overall. The Council on Foreign Relations emphasized the impact that some of the 2022 Games' practices, such as generating fake snow and diverting water, are having on residents in the area. Farmers who depend on the water are put in a tight squeeze, and the artificial snow can cause the destruction of native vegetation, erosion and landslides, according to the CFR.
Tiric Chang, principal of Populous in China and the co-project director, drew on childhood memories of growing up in Beijing to create the design. Chang referenced a traditional ice game that involves a spinning "ice top," among other elements of Chinese heritage, according to the release.
"It guided the design team to boldly extend the concept of a high-speed rotating ice top to creating 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," Chang said in the release.
The venue will be in use throughout the 2022 Games, which started on Feb. 4 and will continue until Feb. 20.