5 Winter Olympic venues to start renovation before end of year

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The renovation of five major venues for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics will start before the end of 2018, according to an announcement made by the Beijing Major Projects Construction Headquarters Office on Aug. 9.

The five venues are the National Aquatics Center (also known as the "Water Cube"), the National Indoor Stadium, the Capital Indoor Stadium, the Capital Skating Gymnasium, and the Capital Training Hall. As planned, the Water Cube will be transformed into the "Ice Cube," the National Indoor Stadium will be upgraded to a two-star green building, and the Capital Indoor Stadium and its surrounding area will be transformed into a winter sports park.

According to Huang Hui, an official from the Beijing Major Projects Construction Headquarters Office, the Chinese capital only plans to construct one new venue for the Winter Olympics – the National Speed Skating Oval (also known as the Ice Ribbon) – following the concept of "green Olympics." The Chinese capital will reuse eight legacy venues of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Beijing has completed the initial renovation plans for five venues, and the project will start before the end of this year. The renovation for three other venues – the National Stadium (the Bird's Nest), the Cadillac Arena, and the China National Convention Center – will respectively take place in 2020 and early 2021.

Huang said the renovations will take into consideration post-game reuse of the venues, ensure environmental friendliness and energy conservation, while making sure that the venues can be used for both summer and winter sports.

One such venues with dual functions is the Water Cube, which was built for swimming and diving contests for the 2008 Summer Olympics. The venue will be converted to the "Ice Cube" that can accommodate 4,600 people for the curling competition during the 2022 Winter Olympics. According to the renovation plan, the original swimming pool will be converted to a curling rink of four standard tracks through levelling the surface with a retractable pool cover made of concrete and installing a detachable ice-making system.

Elsewhere, the National Indoor Stadium, previously used for gymnastics, trampoline and handball during the 2008 Summer Olympics, will be transformed into the venue for men's ice hockey, with a seating capacity of 18,000 in the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Huang said the stadium will be upgraded to a two-star green building. The major upgrades include the replacement of the stadium's current glass walls with ice-like glass bricks. It will introduce more natural lighting, which will then help reduce energy consumption.

The indoor stadium is energy-efficient and environmentally friendly in terms of energy use and air quality. It will use a water-based heat pump system for temperature control that can release or absorb heat from the water body without consuming water resources or causing pollution. The stadium will be equipped with air-purifying capabilities that can automatically adjust the air quality with the use of sensors.

Renovation work will also extend to the Capital Indoor Stadium, which was first built in 1968 and served the 2008 Summer Olympics. The historic building will receive its latest facelift and be transformed into a venue for figure skating and short-track speed skating.

According to the renovation plan, the Capital Indoor Stadium compound will become a sports park that contains one indoor stadium, two training halls, and three supporting venues.

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