Populous To Design Beijing’s National Speed Skating Oval For 2022 Winter Olympic Games

May 2, 2017 / Tiric Chang

Following a rigorous worldwide design competition, Populous have been selected to design the architectural concept scheme of the prestigious National Speed Skating Oval (NSSO) in Beijing: the main venue and the city’s permanent new landmark venue, for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

Global leaders in sports and entertainment design, and the official architectural and overlay design services provider to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Populous has been involved in 14 summer and winter Olympic Games. These include Sochi’s Fisht Stadium which hosted the 2014 opening and closing ceremonies; London 2012; and Sydney 2000 and Paris 2024.

‘The Ice Ribbon’, as the oval has already affectionately been named courtesy of its distinctive and poetic façade, evokes and celebrates the elegance, precision, pace and drama that is speed skating.

Paul Henry, Populous Managing Director is excited about this Olympic project and sees a tremendous long-term gain for the city of Beijing and China.This is a compelling and expressive design, which will ensure an intense atmosphere. And crucially, following the Games’ Closing Ceremony, the Oval will live on with real purpose, becoming a hub for the community, drawing people together and supporting China’s ongoing involvement and excellence in winter sports,he said.

Twenty-two separate light strands (or ribbons) flow up and around the Oval, cocooning it to a height of some 33.8 metres. The design establishes a high level of visitor comfort and amenity within the stadium, in keeping with it being the world leading speed skating venue for competitors and spectators. At night, the facade creates an exciting spectacle, with each of the strands becoming dynamic ribbons of light, able to change to an endless array of lighting programs.

Populous Director, Andrew James, highlights the venue’s architectural and place making credentials, saying, “The venue will be a fitting addition to the architectural iconography of Olympic Park, adding to the exciting and enduring drawcard for China and international visitors alike”.

In the lead up to, and during the Games, the NSSO will be the home of Olympic competition and training for speed skating events. Importantly, the legacy of the venue will support China’s ongoing commitment to excellence in winter sports, transforming after the 2022 Games to cater for public skating and ice sports as well as speed skating.

One of the world’s foremost authorities in the sport and special event industry, Jerry Anderson, Populous Senior Principal, saysThis stunning venue consolidates Populous’ unparalleled Olympic experience, gained over 14 summer and winter Games. The design of the National Speed Skating Oval is therefore the latest culmination of this history and our globally recognised innovations in sports facility design, creating the most effective and inspiring state of the art speed skating venue for Beijing’s Winter Games.”


  • The 2022 international design competition attracted 66 applicants (26 domestic, 44 international); of whom 12 were short listed (7 international, 5 domestic)
  • Approximately 17 hectares in overall area
  • 400m racing track will comprise an artificial ice surface to world’s best standard, as specified by the International Skating Union (ISU)
  • 12,000 spectators (around 8,000 permanent and around 4,000 temporary seats) positioned close to the action
  • 2 additional underground levels accommodate venue servicing and parking
  • Construction to begin mid-2017 and completed in 2021

Populous + The Olympic & Paralympic Games

Populous has a history and experience with designing and creating for the Olympics that is unparalled. This experience is wide-ranging and holistic, with involvement at every stage of an Olympic Games’ genesis and finalisation:

  • Host city bid support
  • Comprehensive sporting and city building master plans
  • Event overlays, using temporary installations and addressing transport, residential, hospitality and venue requirements
  • Design and the creation of world class stadiums and venues
  • Post event legacy to ensure ongoing relevance and asset for the host city

Summer Games

1996 Atlanta: Design Overlay for 30 competition venues; Signage/Wayfinding; Games Period Site Management; Athlete Village Overlay and Operations

2000 Sydney: Olympic Park Master Planning; Olympic Stadium; Olympic Arena; Event Management; Overlay

2004 Athens: Lead Advisory; Venue Planning, Design & Facilities Programming

2008 Beijing: Wukesong Arena; Overlay; Strategic & Master Planning Review

2012 London: Master Planning; Stadium Design; Tennis Venue, Handball Venue, O2 Arena (Gymnastics & Basketball), Wembley Station (Football) Overlay; Legacy; Environment Design; Brand Activation; Sustainability

2016 Rio de Janeiro: Overlay guidance & development assistance; oversight & strategic advice; mentoring

Winter Games

1998 Nagano: *M-Wave Speed Skating Arena Design (as HOK Sport)

2002 Salt Lake: Master Planning Park City & Salt Lake City; E-Center Arena Design; Venue Development & Design; Event Overlay

2006 Torino: Oval Lingotto (Speed Skating) Design

2010 Vancouver: Overlay; Site Management; Venue Master Planning Technical Review & Advisory; Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre Design

2014 Sochi: Master Planning; Event Overlay; Fisht Olympic Stadium Design

2022 Beijing: National Speed Skating Arena Design

Host City Bids

2000 Manchester Summer

2008 Beijing Summer

2010 Salzburg Winter

2010 Vancouver Winter

2012 London Summer

2012 New York Summer

2014 Sochi Winter

2016 Chicago Summer

2020 Doha Summer

2024 Paris Summer


For Further Information

Tiric Chang, Associate Principal & China Representative, tiric.chang@populous.com

Meet the author

Tiric Chang

Principal, Architect / Beijing


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *