New Beijing Workers Stadium


Few people seem to be aware we will have a new Beijing Workers Stadium, expected to be delivered by December 2022, to be ready for the July 2023 Opening Ceremonies for the 2023 Asian Cup Games. Many were confused why the old stadium was being demolished starting on 5 August 2020.

See how the Stadium looked like and the razing that took a few days only. They used water cannons to reduce the dust.
Well, blame the usual lack of communication by the Beijing Government. Some even say the secrecy is due to the fact the area is “owned by the military”.
The new stadium will be at the same location but with improvements to meet the needs of world-class professional football field.
However it is a fact there is a total lack of clarity how the area will be transformed as it is the location of many restaurants, discos, KTV and other outlets.
Also unclear is what will happen with the Gongti Indoor Stadium: they just started building a big fence around it.
I first reported on it here.

As far as I know most if not all of the venues will be closed at some point. That would also include Legend Beer, among others. It is said “The Workers Stadium will also become an open urban public space for mass sports and cultural activities and a new vitality center of the city.”

A long history and end of life

I have so many stories about that stadium. It was also my training ground to prepare for my marathons, having the complete stadium with its running track only for myself.

The main structure of the Workers Stadium had reached its service life.
It was designed by the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design and Research and was completed and put into use in 1959. It was the largest comprehensive stadium in the eastern part of Beijing. It had a standard football field, a 400-meter rubber track among others. The main building was 64,000 sqm. it was the venue for the first National Games and other large-scale sports events.

According to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Planning and Natural Resources, the main building of the Stadium was a concrete structure with a design life of 50 years. Since the 1990s, three structural reinforcements and one facility renovation have been carried out. Among them, in order to host the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the Workers’ Stadium has undergone comprehensive structural reinforcement in accordance with the 7-degree seismic fortification standard (the Beijing area is an 8-degree seismic fortification area) – the service life is 12 years. At present, the main structure of the Beijing Workers Stadium had reached the end of its service life, and there are potential safety hazards and obsolete facilities and equipment.

By 2018, the National Construction Engineering Quality Supervision and Inspection Center conducted a house inspection and appraisal of the construction. The conclusion was the overall structural safety and seismic resistance of the building seriously did not meet the relevant national standards. It also did not meet the requirements of the Asian Cup and other major international professional football matches. Therefore, it was urgent to upgrade.

The new stadium

After the transformation of the new Beijing Workers Stadium, the elliptical shape of the main building will remain basically unchanged, and it will meet the needs of the internal circular passage while maintaining the proportion of the facade.
At the same time, the reconstruction will keep the original characteristic elements of the construction body basically unchanged, and protect and restore the important characteristic elements, such as flagpoles, gate posts, sculptures, and architectural decoration components.

See a few pictures showing the future stadium and the surrounding area. While some may be “artist rendering” most of the existing structures in the area seem to be gone except for the two main buildings of former “Gongti Yibai”.

You can also see the large new underground facilities with the connection to the new subway lines (should be Line 3 and Line 17, all currently under construction).
See also a view on the new facility being built by CSCEC on the East side of the Stadium: “China Philharmonic Orchestra Concert Hall and Rehearsal Facilities”.
Nobody talks about this…
And a lot is going on also in the South East corner of the Gongti area. No idea what is coming there.

Sources, among other:

I keep you posted!

Bruce takes us back in time

On Sunday 4 September Bruce Connolly (Radio Beijing) invited us for a talk to present the pictures he took when he visited China in 1992, mostly pictures from Guangdong.

Location was QBar in Sanlitun Nan Lu.


Fascinating indeed to listen to the story of his train trip from Glasgow to Hong Kong in 1989.
Obviously so much has changed. Bruce is also a great photographer. Some of his pictures are on my new website
That all reminds me I should find the time to recover my mountain of negatives, dating from decades ago. For me China started in 1980.

I still remember the many train trips I took towards Pingdingshan (Henan) during the eighties. That time, steam locomotives, no aircon. So we had the windows open. Once arrived we had to take the soot away from our bodies, we looked like coal miners.

“The New Sanxia” 3D movie media event

I was very fortunate to participate as the only foreigner in the making of the 3D HD movie on “The New Three Gorges”, in early November 2015. I still have to work on my well over 1000 pictures.
On 15 December 2015 a Media Event was held in the CCTV Media Center (Fuxing Road) to introduce the movie, “Discovering New Three Gorges”.
See some pictures of the event, some screenshots of parts of the movie and parts of the magazine introducing the movie.

I met many of the experts and film crew and we had a lively banquet later on.
As far as I understand, the movie should come out in March, in several episodes and will be shown on CCTV. Oh boy I am a bit nervous about all that as they forced me to do nearly all the interviews for the movie in Chinese and well, I think my Chinese is still very mamahuhu.
To have an idea about the many exciting places we visited, see this posting. Those were shots made in a previous shooting and they will be mixed with the footage we did.

Yeah, I am not not I am now an “actor”.
More about my findings in another post to come about the seminar of the Leisure Industry (16 January 2016).

Touring Wudaoying Hutong in Beijing

On 2 July the weather was so nice – and really hot – and I could not resist jumping on my red bike and going to explore the Wudaoying Hutong near the Lama Temple.
One excuse was I wanted to finally locate the well-known bike shop, NATOOKE, run by the also well-known German girl Ines Brunn (yes, also “an Old China Hand”!). She was the one to launch the now ubiquitous fixed gear bikes in Beijing, she is also an acrobat on wheels as she showed us in the 2014 Rotary Ball.
The bikes are cool but I still prefer a more “work-horse” type allowing me to transport a lot of stuff, in the front and in the back. And with fenders to protect against water and mud when it rains.

There is a lot to explore in the hutongs there. Many shops, coffee shops, restaurants.
Besides the Lama Temple (with the shops selling the tools to pray in the temple!) there is also the Confucian Temple and Imperial College Museum (I still have to visit…).
I really need to explore more all those hutongs. There also some rather mysterious buildings there, not sure what they are but they look like VIP meeting places. I will need Chinese friends to figure that out… Few signs however to figure it out. They can ask the guards at least.

Visit to 798 Art Zone, discovering the Ullens Center

On Sunday 28 June I had to go to 798 for the opening of the Israel Center. I hadn’t been there since long as it is too far by bike. I arrived well ahead of time to walk a little around the Art Zone that has become a real small city. One needs more than one day to go around and explore the many corners, with galleries, shops, cafés, restaurants and even offices.

So I finally visited the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), set up by the Belgian couple Ullens in 2007. It is pretty well known around the world by now. The outside is rather “factory” as the Art Zone actually is, but the inside is pretty modern and nice. I also liked the shop.
The sky was grey, the weather like a sauna but I did take a few pictures along the 798 road, like of the coffee shop hidden within a huge tree and the railway museum part (great old locomotive).
I will really need to visit the area more, I probably need first to buy a better bike…