With the 2012 Olympic Games drawing to a close this weekend, it’d be a shame to ignore the innovation behind the state of the art facilities hosting the event. While there are a whole range of impressive buildings being used for the various events, it only seems right that we focus in on the biggest and boldest – The Olympic Stadium.
After London was selected to host the 2012 Olympic Games it was the London Organising Committee of Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) who were jointly tasked with making the event a reality. As they made their plans, they pledged to create “the first sustainable Olympic and Paralympic Games”. This ethos, which was laid out in the beginning, has been upheld throughout the planning, design and construction phases in preparation for the Olympic Games.
As part of the “London 2012 Sustainability Plan”, the vision was to create Olympic venues which could be used long after the Olympic flame has been extinguished. This meant finding the right mix of permanent and temporary venues, and in the case of the Olympic Stadium, creating an 80000 seat capacity stadium which could be downsized to 25000 after The Olympic Games. Not only this, but design requirements and constraints were imposed to ensure that recycling was promoted and impact on the environment was minimized. A director from ODA said “It provided quite a bit of a challenge, but in general, the designers were very creative in their solutions.”
So, how did they do?
They did quite well actually. Here are some of the highlights.
- To minimize construction materials, the lower tier of the Stadium sits within a bowl in the ground. Around 800,000 metric tonnes of soil were excavated to create the bowl, and the majority of the soil was cleaned and used elsewhere on the Olympic Park. The structural support offered by the walls of the excavated bowl meant that the amount of steel required for the construction of the stadium was reduced by around 75%.
- The Olympic Stadium is by far the lightest ever built. Around 10,000 metric tonnes of steel were used to build the venue (in comparison to the 100,000 metric tonnes used to build the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Olympic Games.)
- The majority of the materials used in the construction of the stadium are recycled. The designers have even re-purposed old gas pipes which are now being used in the roof supports.
- The design of a stadium with such a large number of temporary seats has never been attempted before, but in this case was a key design requirement. The stadium has been build in layers, as shown in the diagram below. After the Olympic Games the upper tier, which is made up of the top few layers (providing 55,000 seats), is to be dismantled, leaving only the lower tier of the stadium (with the required 25,000 seats).
So remember, the venue being used to host to worlds biggest sporting event of 2012 is not just any old stadium. It has not been built to stand empty and unused for decades to come like some stadium from Olympic Games of the past. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The London 2012 Olympic Stadium has been built to be used week in, week out, with the future very much in mind.The Olympic Stadium -- Built to Last,
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