The Beijing National Stadium, also known as the bird's nest will be the main track and field stadium for the 2008 Summer Olympics and will be host to the Opening and Closing ceremonies. In 2002 Government officials engaged architects worldwide in a design competition. Pritzker Prize-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron collaborated with ArupSport and China Architecture Design & Research Group to win the competition. The stadium will seat as many as 100,000 spectators during the Olympics, but this will be reduced to 80,000 after the games. It has replaced the original intended venue of the Guangdong Olympic Stadium. The stadium is 330 metres long by 220 metres wide, and is 69.2 metres tall. The 250,000 square metre (gross floor area) stadium is to be built with 36 km of unwrapped steel, with a combined weight of 45,000 tonnes. The stadium will cost up to 3.5 billion yuan (422,873,850 USD/ 325,395,593 EUR). The ground was broken in December 2003, and construction started in March 2004, but was halted by the high construction cost in August 2004.
In the new design, the roof of the stadium had been omitted from the design. Experts say that this will make the stadium safer, whilst reducing construction costs. The construction of the Olympic buildings will continue once again in the beginning of 2005.