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Beijing Winter Olympic Village ready to open its doors

(China Daily)|Updated : 2021-11-08

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Beijing's Winter Olympic Village covers an area of 330,000 square meters and comprises 20 residential buildings. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Smart, cozy and accessible, Beijing's Winter Olympic Village has all the elements needed to provide athletes with a safe and comfortable home away from home during next year's Games.

As promised in its bidding submission, Beijing's commitment to hosting "athlete-centered" Games has materialized in a big way, with 20 residential buildings-all furnished and decorated to a high standard and fitted with fresh-air ventilation systems-this month completed well ahead of the opening ceremony on Feb 4.

Situated in the northern part of the city's downtown against the backdrop of the Bird's Nest, the Beijing Olympic Village, which covers an area of 330,000 square meters, is the largest of three official residential areas built for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, which also include mountain villages in Yanqing district and co-host city Zhangjiakou, Hebei province.

The Beijing village will undergo an operational test later this month with all facilities, services and COVID-19 control and prevention measures to be evaluated. Should the test go well, the village will initiate a trial run on Jan 23 before officially opening on Jan 27.

"We are trying to make the village a safe and comfortable home for every athlete and official where they can enjoy themselves and be as relaxed as possible and experience some of the cultural characteristics of the host city at the same time," said Yang Jingfeng, deputy director of resident services for the village operation team.

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The Winter Olympic Village is designed to provide athletes and officials with a safe and comfortable stay in the capital. WEI XIAOHAO/CHINA DAILY

The layout of the village's residential area draws inspiration from traditional quadrangle courtyards in Beijing, with apartment buildings surrounding a central garden.

From a bird's-eye view, the two largest courtyards in the village cut a pattern similar to the famous Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) painting depicting people enjoying outdoor activities on ice.

In the village plaza, exhibition sites will accommodate Chinese cultural displays and traditional Chinese medicine promotions during the Games.

"It's quite important that we make the village special enough that athletes from all over the world recognize it's Beijing, it's China, once they settle in," said Yang.

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The Winter Olympic Village is designed to provide athletes and officials with a safe and comfortable stay in the capital. WEI XIAOHAO/CHINA DAILY

Eco-friendly

The village's reception center, situated to the west of the residential zone, was rebuilt on the site of an abandoned factory, with its main structure, walls and beams reused to create a large space for security checks, body temperature monitoring, accreditation services, check-in and media operations.

Facilitated by 5G internet and artificial intelligence technology, self-navigating robots have been tested to provide concierge services, refreshments and disinfection in the lobby.

According to the village's owner, Beijing Investment Group Co, all the permanent buildings within the complex have passed the highest three-star certification for green construction with the recycling of materials, energy saving and environmental protection prioritized throughout the whole process of development.

The internal decoration of the apartment buildings has also met the globally recognized WELL Building Standard, paying extra attention to residents' health through careful consideration of air quality, water, lighting and space.

A smart housing control system has been installed in each of the apartments, allowing athletes and officials, especially para-sports athletes, to control lights, air conditioners and curtains in their rooms by using a phone app.

The system also features self-adjusting functions to keep room temperature and brightness within a comfortable range to avoid unnecessary energy consumption, said Lin Bin, a staff member of the village operational team.

"The smart system was developed especially to cater to the needs of all the Paralympic athletes," said Li. "With service robots also to be deployed in the residential area, para-sports athletes can use a smartphone app to navigate through the village, where barrier-free facilities have been installed."

During the Paralympic Winter Games, which run from March 4-13, the Beijing village will provide 1,040 beds to accommodate a smaller group of residents.

In every bedroom, an emergency button is positioned just above the night stand, while the indoor wardrobe adopts a push-open door. Each bathroom features non-slip flooring, a toilet with handrails on both sides and a roll-in shower.

Similar to Beijing 2022's competition venues, the Olympic Village will be transformed to serve residential and commercial functions in the local community.

Qu Chen, a project manager with Beijing Investment Group, said that Beijing will offer the village as public rental housing to young professionals after the Olympics.

Following the 2008 Games, the Olympic Village apartments were sold on the residential market.