Last month NPR reported, “Pre-2000s Beijing included an entire district dedicated to Shougang, or Capital Steelworks, with its smelting furnaces emerging through the industrial smog like a steampunk vision.” While steel is still an important industry for China, the pollution and noise was too much for a large city like Beijing so Shougang was officially closed in 2010. Instead of demolishing it, China chose to clean it up, renovate it and repurpose the mill site. It is now the setting for Big Air Shougang, arguably the most unique venue of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
According to dezeen.com, the 60-metre-high ski jump, created as the first permanent venue for big air events in the world, will host the ski and snowboard big air competitions at the Olympics, which began this past weekend. It will be the first time ski big air has been included in the games, following the introduction of snowboard big air at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang.
“Built in the western Shijingshan district of Beijing, the Olympic venue sits within the former Shougang Industrial Park, which was the largest steel mill in the region before it closed in 2011. The largely steel structure designed by TeamMinus occupies a dramatic location alongside four large cooling towers on a strip of land between a former cooling lake and the Yongding River,” dezeen.com reports.
Following the Winter Olympics, the venue will be used for various sports competitions and athlete training, as well as cultural and civic events. The Big Air Shougang venue forms part of a plan to redevelop the former steelworks, and several other buildings were renovated for the Olympics.
Liu Yumin, Executive Deputy Director of the Beijing 2022 Committee’s general planning and construction department, said, “We had other proposals to build the venue elsewhere, but the idea to combine dynamic sporting action with industrial heritage won over the International Olympic Committee for the vision of sustainability. The project will serve as an anchor for the entire plan to repurpose the industrial compound into a future destination of winter sports and related leisure activities.” (Source: FIS)