London 2012 Olympic Stadium

London / United Kingdom / 2011

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London will be the first city to host the Olympic Summer Games for a third time, and the organising committee intends to showcase the city’s capability in hosting spectacular, efficient and innovative Olympic and Paralympics Games. Embedded in the London Games design parameters is the need to provide for the future, the Legacy of a major event, which requires transformation of the city and the venues - challenging the concept of building permanence. To achieve a balance between the immediate needs of the large Games stadium against a long term, small scale venue, Populous have embraced the opportunity to develop the architectural language of venue design. We have progressed a new theory of ‘embracing the temporary’, exploring form, materials, structure and operational systems to bring a structured palette of elements into a cohesive design. Simple legible forms develop, minimizing the physical weight, fabrication time and embodied energy of each component, and bringing together to the whole building, linked by demountable connections. This not only enables the overlay of theatre and spectacle in staging the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 80,000 capacity venue, but also promotes possibilities of transformation after the Games down to a minimum 25,000 seat venue form. The London Olympic Stadium is sited on a diamond-shaped island between two existing waterways, located within the southern section of the new Olympic Park. The seating bowl is compact, bringing all 80, 000 spectators far closer to the event than previous Games venues. The design makes full use of the site’s island situation, providing a complete circuit of spectator podium concourse around the stadium, connected by bridges to the main park. This podium concourse promotes the carnival nature of the event with a perimeter array of spectator facilities, particularly retail and food service, distributed along the natural boundary of the water’s edge. During the three hours of an athletics event, spectators are free to move from their seat out onto the podium to visit these colourful clusters of concession pods, and view across the waterways the activities in the adjacent park and venues. The key sustainability criteria of reduce, reuse and recycle were adopted to create a compact, flexible and lightweight design. The main Stadium structure is light and elegant, clearly expressed by the external diagonal articulation of the white tubular steel of the roof and the internal slender black steel supporting the temporary upper seating tier. Between these two frames lies the concourse façade, the full height ribbon sections of the fabric ‘wrap’. The black and white seats provide a neutral backdrop for the interior colour of the spectator facilities and pathways, and the animation that spectators will bring to the event. The running track will also be highlighted in a striking colour which will reflect the vibrancy of London in 2012. Already a centrepiece to the developing Olympic Park, the stadium construction is on programme for completion in early 2011. The fabric roof (25,500 m²) covers an area the size of is just over half the size of the roof over Wembley Stadium / the Bird’s Nest Stadium. From the field of play to the highest point of the stadium is 62.7m; and from podium level it is 57.1 m, by comparison, the bird’s nest is 68 metres high. The stadium has a circumference of 835m, nearly 200m shorter than that of Wembley Stadium; highlighting the compact bowl design. The VIP dining area has a floor area of 631 m². There is 9,250 m³ of reinforced pre-cast concrete within the stadium bowl, weighing a total of 12,125 tonnes. The supporting structural steel and cables that form the roof weigh a total of 3,000 tonnes by contrast, the steel used to form the façade and roof of the bird’s nest (which is also separate from the seating bowl) is 44,000 tonnes. There are 14 sports lights, each weighing 36 tonnes; a combined load of 504 tonnes. This huge load is supported by the tension ring, constructed from ten cables each 60mm in diameter. When laid end to end the cables used in the roof construction would stretch (6 kilometers) from the stadium site to Greenwich park, the location of the London 2012 equestrian events. There are 112 steel rakers supporting the bowl seating tier, with a combined weight of 10,000 tonnes. When lined side by side; the seats in the stadium would stretch from the centre of the field of play all the way to Southend (50km). The enhanced roof design for the opening and closing ceremonies can support the weight 34 unladen double decker London buses (485 tonnes). The fabric roof (25,500 m²) covers an area the size of thirty-five full size tennis courts. From the field of play to the highest point of the stadium is 62.7m; and from podium level it is 57.1 m. If you were to put all of the staircases together, stacked up into one massive staircase, you could climb 40 metres higher than Canary Wharf; or over twice the height of Anish Kapoor’s neighbouring Olympic ‘Orbit’ Tower; and that doesn’t even include the hundreds of steps in the seating bowl. The Stadium will host the athletics events and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies during the London 2012 Games. 80,000 seats in Games mode and flexible design allows venue to be scaled back to 25,000 seats in legacy. 33 buildings had to be demolished and over 800,000 tonnes of soil was taken away to help create the construction platform for the Stadium - enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall nine times over. The total Stadium site covers an area of 40 acres. The Stadium has a total floor area of 108,500m2 in Games time. The Stadium will contain around 10,000 tonnes of steel - it will be the lightest Olympic Stadium constructed to date. There will be around 700 rooms and spaces within the Stadium, including medical rooms, showers, toilets and changing rooms. Over 4,500 reinforced concrete columns installed as the foundations. 12,000 pre-cast concrete terracing units for the seating installed. All five bridges and their abutments in place, connecting the Stadium island to the rest of the Park. Work has begun on the fit-out of the 700 rooms and spaces within the Stadium, including fitting toilets and tiling showers in the changing rooms. The 450 tonne cable net roof structure has been lifted into place 14 lighting towers which sit 60 metres above the field of play have been lifted into place and the fitting of the power cables has started. The covering of the cable net roof has almost been completed, which will provide the correct conditions for athletes on the field of play and cover two-thirds of spectators. Landscaping work has begun including trees planted, a green wall installed and the trial sowing of meadows which will flower in this summer. Stadium The total area of internal accommodation is 46,830 m² [this includes the West Stand concourse area and inboard pods; as well as LG buggy routes; but not general concourses beneath the upper tier in the North, South or East; this figure also excludes the field of play and media areas to the South] (by comparison Wembley Stadium has an accommodation area of 173,000 m², and Australia's Telstra Stadium has an accommodation area of 100,000 m²). The distance from the field of play to the highest point of the stadium is 62.7m; and from podium level it is 57.1 m. There is 4,610 sq m allocated to toilets. Events There are 42 Olympic and 166 Paralympic medal events in the Stadium Area of Field of Play is 22,000 m². Bowl Over 8,000 precast units in the bowl. Cubic metres of precast concrete in bowl- 9,250 m³. 154 Loudspeakers in the seating bowl, suspended in 56 cluster locations 218 KW of amplification driving a total of 1,250 loudspeakers throughout the entire stadium. Seating The stadium has a gross seating capacity of 80,000 with a net capacity to be confirmed but is currently estimated at approximately 72,000. Roof Width of main roof compression truss structure- 260 m, length- 310 m. Tonnes of steel in roof, cables and seating tier rakers - 13,000 T Area of fabric roof 25,500 m². Linear metres of cable in roof - 6,000 m There are 28 main roof column bases. Fun If you were to eat your breakfast out of the seating bowl (volume 1,082,000 m³), it would take just over nine thousand lorry loads of Coco Pops to fill it; and you’d need a lot of cows. The average Jersey cow produces 22 litres of milk per day, assuming you wanted to half fill your bowl of cereal (soggy Coco Pops are an acquired taste) you would need: 49,187,000 cows But, considering there are only 10 million cows in the UK, you’d have to milk every cow for five days to get enough milk; by which time the stuff at the bottom would have gone sour anyway.
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    London will be the first city to host the Olympic Summer Games for a third time, and the organising committee intends to showcase the city’s capability in hosting spectacular, efficient and innovative Olympic and Paralympics Games. Embedded in the London Games design parameters is the need to provide for the future, the Legacy of a major event, which requires transformation of the city and the venues - challenging the concept of building permanence. To achieve a balance between the immediate...

    Project details
    • Year 2011
    • Main structure Reinforced concrete
    • Client The Olympic Delivery Authority
    • Status Current works
    • Type Stadiums
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