Beijing Olympic Village - Beijing (China)

Beijing, Italy

The material chosen to clad the buildings in the Olympic Village created for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing offers an outstanding example of Italian manufacturing excellence
Riccardo Bianchi
Bo Hongtao | CCTN Architectural Design
Ceramic surfaces
Year of completion

Along with the many medals taken home by athletes from all over the world, the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing also left a distinctly Italian mark on the buildings constructed for the occasion, most notably the Olympic Village built in the Chinese capital to host athletes competing in the ice skating and freestyle events. Located to the south of the National Olympic Sports Centre, the Olympic Village was created as a radical and skilful renovation of a former steel mill in the heart of the Shougang Industrial Park. The project, which consists of 50 buildings designed to offer a range of services, is the work of Bo Hongtao, the award-winning chief architect of CCTN Design and winner of the 2017 Royal Institute of Urban Planning Academy Excellence Programme Award. The project took three years to complete and is one of the most important of the many recently undertaken to regenerate the urban fabric of the Chinese capital. This architectural, urbanistic and real estate operation was not an end in itself but was intended to create a lasting site where future inhabitants would be able to escape from the hustle and bustle of contemporary living. Bo Hongtao adopted a contemporary architectural style while attempting to preserve the site’s industrial nature through a harmonious balance between restoration and new build as well as a constant focus on sustainability. The architect revisited the original structure of the steel and concrete factory without transforming it entirely, while introducing visually-striking landscaped corridors aimed at establishing a dialogue between the Olympic Village and its surroundings.
For this reason he chose to use ceramic panels from Laminam’s Oxide series for the 20,000 square metres of façades included in the project, a kind of calling card with which the Olympic Village presents itself to residents and visitors. These Laminam 3+ porcelain panels reference the industrial aesthetics of the neighbourhood while representing the state of the art of ceramic technology in terms of their technical and functional characteristics. While standing out for their exceptional size (100×300 cm) and very small thickness (3 mm), according to their data sheet they also offer “high resistance to mechanical stress, chemicals, wear, scratching and deep abrasion. They are also hygienic, hygroscopic (with an average water absorption of 0.1%) and resistant to frost, mould and UV radiation.”
Bo Hongtao chose them in the colour Moro, a version enhanced with natural metallic-looking pigments that simulate the effect of weathering on iron, creating a facade with a highly tactile, material look enhanced by the variations in light. In a recent interview, Bo Hongtao explained this decision as follows: “The Olympic Village project rests on three pillars: continuity, innovation and sustainability. I had no serious doubts regarding the choice of materials. While steel would have been the most consistent aesthetic solution, it wouldn’t have been reliable in terms of weather resistance. After ruling out glass due to its excessive weight, I found all the stylistic and functional characteristics I was looking for – particularly lightness and tactile appeal – in Laminam panels. The distinctive texture of Oxide creates extraordinary plays of light that lend further appeal to the entire complex.”

Ceramic surfaces
porcelain stoneware
1000x3000 mm

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