As Olympic news continues to roll in on a daily basis (just this morning the torch was lit for it’s 78-day journey) the Active Team has to call out how impressed we are by the evolution of the London landscape as it prepares for this international event. The conversion of unused or dated spaces into massive arenas and multi-use stadiums takes years of bidding and debate, but seeing it all come together as of recent is extremely satisfying.
Over the past three years, Olympic venues include an Aquatic Center, BMX track, Velodrome, and finally the Olympic Stadium and Park, not to mention the outer city accommodations for categories including Road Cycling and Rowing.
The Aquatic Center (see below) located in East London was designed by the famed architect Zaha Hadid, known for her biomorphic designs. Her work is reflected in the wave-like rooftop that relies on concrete structures, encapsulating her kinetic aesthetic. The complex includes 50 and 25 meter competition and diving pools, made to accomodate over 17,500 spectators.
After making its debut at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the BMX event has become a popular event in need of a very specific space. Located at the north end of the Olympic Park, the 400 meter park features 8 meters of ramps, using over 14,000 cubic meters of soil that is ready to seat 6,000 people as of late March.
The Velodrome, started in 2009 and unveiled this Februrary, was created to host indoor cycling events, containing the track along with changing rooms, retail space, a viewing concourse, cafes, and bicycle repair shops and stations. This self-relient space is a beauty — serene wooden elements, ample natural lightening, and the shape mimicking the movement of the bicycle itself. Many have (and will) refer to this one as the “Pringle” building as the shape does recall the once-you-pop favorite.
Equally notable are the range of sustainable structures like the Copper Box. This handball and fencing arena utilizes natural ceiling light and recycled rainwater in an effort to reduce light energy and water consumption.
Most of the structures, including the Water Polo Arena, are built to sustain community involved far into the future past this Olympic Games, as sustainability was a key issue in this event’s construction process. Stay tuned as the Active Team gears up for London this summer! - Devon Walsh