It has been amazing to be part of the WAF award winning team. When you look across the range and quality of projects put forward for the WAF Awards, to be short listed and then become associated with the overall winner is a momentous achievement for Grant Associates.
Director - Grant Associates
Date posted: 22/10/08
‘The games are not everything the Olympics are for’, said Megan Ashfield of HOK Sport, designers of the main stadium for London 2012.
The real point of the Olympics is legacy. Munich, said Chris Bosse of LAVA, got its nicest park once the Games and the terrorists had gone, when residents could enjoy Frei Otto´s splendid cable nets in their verdant surroundings.
London’s plans for legacy helped it win over Paris but are now proving hard to deliver, revealed session chair Paul Finch, while Barcelona’s legacy is all around us.
Ashfield´s biggest challenge is how to shrink London’s stadium (pictured) from 80,000 seats to 25,000 once the Games have gone. Essentially, an upper tier of seating will be removed and might be reused as a separate arena elsewhere.
Apart from adding tiers which may or may not be temporary, the basic stadium form has not changed much in 2500 years, explained Ashfield. What has changed is the need for a media spectacle, and the demand for legacy.
Their needs can be contradictory. Unlike most building types, stadiums use more energy in their construction than their operation, so the temptation is to minimise the specification, especially of the temporary bits. But extra seating tiers to a full specification proved worthwhile in HOK’s previous foray into Olympic stadiums at Sydney, when the Games’ organiser revealed his plans to run 10 million litres of water down the temporary seating at the opening ceremony. Had the structure been scaffolded it would not have coped.
Bosse’s Beijing Aquatic Centre (shortlisted, presentation Thursday 14.40 Room 5) proved spectacular during the Games. Its bubble skin made an expressive language out of its function, and just about every world record fell in the pool. It’s too early to say whether it and the park around it will create legacies like Munich or Barcelona, but the auguries are optimistic.