Innovation & Design

London Wins Olympic Games by a Nose


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Yesterday, the International Olympic Committee named London as the host of the 2012 summer Olympics. The committee gave London 54 votes, while runner-up Paris gained only 50. New York, Madrid, and Moscow were eliminated in earlier rounds of voting. The cities had submitted their bids-which often included detailed architectural renderings-at the end of 2004.

London's plans for the games have not yet been finalized, but their bid gave a good idea of what is planned. An 80,000-seat stadium by London-based Foreign Office Architects anchors the scheme. The human form inspired the stadium's design, with its roof forms remeniscient of the way that muscles support the body.

Officials say they will locate the stadium within the 500-acre Olympic Park in the Lower Lea Valley, three miles from London's center. The park will also include a 20,000-seat aquatics center, designed by Zaha Hadid. That venue includes a dramatic S-shaped roof inspired, officials say, by the building's riverside location. Other elements of the park will include a velopark, indoor sports arenas, training facilities and athletes' and officials' accommodations.

The regeneration of the valley, which is one of the poorest areas in Britain, was one of the plan's intentions. "We are not creating another Olympic village that is just a series of nice, white, modern buildings on flat land. We are creating something that will grow out of the specific conditions and forms of the Lea Valley. This will be part of the lasting legacy for the local community," Alejandro Zaera-Polo, chief project designer, told RECORD shortly after the bid was submitted. The Olympic plans include construction of 35,000 to 50,000 new housing units.

A master plan for the area was commissioned in August 2003 by the London Development Agency (LDA), the planning arm of city's government, and was developed by a team that included EDAW, in partnership with Foreign Office Architects, Allies and Morrison, HOK Sport, and Fluid. The LDA is already buying and decontaminating parts of the site.

London's plan also kept venues close to each other. The triathlon will be in Hyde Park; gymnastics in the Dome at Greenwich; archery at Lord's Cricket Ground; the modern pentathlon in Greenwich Park, shooting events at Woolwich Arsenal, and tennis on Wimbledon's Centre Court.

For more information: http://archrecord.construction.com/news/olympics2012/london.asp


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