UCR Theater Professor Designs Olympic Commemoration Museum in Beijing

By Loree Iverson, Student Intern CHASS College Computing
May 21, 2010 

In accordance with recent post-Olympics tradition, China is establishing a museum to commemorate the 2008 Olympic Games hosted by the City of Beijing. The National Olympics Museum will be located within the famed Beijing National Stadium, or the “Bird’s Nest.”

After an intense, invitation-only international competition, the conceptual design of Haibo Yu, associate professor of production and design at UCR, and his team was selected by the City of Beijing as the winning proposal. The team is comprised of Professor Yu, chief project designer and representative of the University of California, and the faculty from the prestigious Quinghua University in Beijing.

The proposed two-story museum is ultramodern in design, boasting of an array of interactive displays and innovative exhibits. A comprehensive collection of Olympics memorabilia will be on display, including medals, equipment and the personal belongings of the athletes. There will be numerous educational demonstrations, such as exhibits showing the construction of the “Bird’s Nest” from miniature modeling to completion.  Also featured will be a wide range of interactive exhibits, allowing visitors to partake in a variety of simulated sports, such as rowing and cycling. An enormous domed theater screen will project the opening ceremony from 2008. A hydraulic-powered projector will present images in three dimensions. The massive lobby, with monumental interlinked columns, will have the original Olympics “count down” clock from Tiananmen Square on display. In addition, a cascading waterfall, erected by several tiers of massive leaves, will recall the “Green Olympics” theme.

In the words of Professor Yu, “I love doing design and taking on challenges. The city of Beijing has commissioned this project to be a standard bearer. The resources given to it will allow the designers a great deal of freedom and place on them tremendous responsibility. The University of California’s participation in this project will make its name even better known in China and generate much good will.”

Professor Yu has already made several trips to Beijing this year to work on the project. The construction phase is expected to begin in July 2010. During this phase, Professor Yu will reside in Beijing to oversee the design process. The project cost of the National Olympic Museum is estimated to be $200 million Chinese yuan, or about $30 million in U.S. dollars.

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