Ed. The coming of the Olympics will be felt by many including the architects. They will design the required buildings and environment to host a spectacular games. Their products will need to have a long lasting effect - other than just debt. The enthusiasm of our young architects is reflected in this article which appeared in the RIBA Student News bulletin. (Published here with their permission.)

Note: some of the links I found to be quite slow.

(R106) RIBA Student News Issue no. 235 - Ref: 7 - by Claire Bandy

25 November 2005
Gregory Cowan
Editor, RIBA Student
Education Projects Coordinator (Student & Graduate Support & Awards)

Architecture, the Olympics, and you

The 6th July 2005 will be forever remembered for being the day of elation that preceded the day of misery. I remember the two extremes vividly - a whole office of architects crowded around a widescreen; mouths whooping with joy on the Wednesday and then gaping in disbelief on the Thursday. But as members and soon-to-be members of the architectural profession, how will the London Olympics and the London bombings affect us?

The architectural impact of the London Bombings is more ambiguous and perhaps one for another issue, so let us consider instead that wealth of architectural, master planning, landscape and regeneration projects that might come our way in the lead up to London 2012. It is important to note that this is not just a 'London thing', to name just a few, the Millennium Stadium in Wales, Old Trafford in Manchester, St James Park in Newcastle and Weymouth Bay are all involved. The London 2012 website provides a comprehensive (interactive) map of the whole thing;

Most of the development will take place within the Olympic Village - proposed for the currently run-down Lower Lea Valley area of East London. This will need to house at least 25,000 athletes, officials and coaches, facilities for 20,000 media staff, and 63,000 operational staff. This scale of development will have a lasting impact on London after the Olympics, providing much needed housing, transport and sports facilities. The brief of designing something for an Olympic purpose that can then be used successfully for housing is certainly a challenge for any architectural practice. The building boom will have a fantastic effect on architectural debate, with the need to build large, fast and adaptable buildings hopefully inspiring some great design.

The master plan for the main Olympic site is a team led by urban designers EDAW, with Allies & Morrison, HOK and Foreign Office Architects.

An unprecedented agreement between London 2012, WWF BioRegional sustainability experts states that London will host a zero-waste, low carbon Games.

The first commission for the Olympics was given to Zaha Hadid for her sinuous S-shaped Aquatics Centre competition entry. She states the design to be inspired by the flow of water, a pretty obvious link, but nonetheless it provides a striking building. It seems that it is expected to have the kind of iconic impact that the Guggenheim Museum had on the run-down Bilbao. Lord Richard Rogers, who was on the competition selection panel said; "This building has an exceptional sculptural quality that will make it a wonderful building to visit, attracting people to East London. It sets the standard for architectural quality in this key regeneration area." After the Games, the centre will be converted, with the pools dividing into different spaces, making it easy for swimmers of different abilities to use. The centre will also have an extensive health and fitness area to contribute to the long-term viability of the building.

So the chance for us to work on one of these groundbreaking Olympic buildings might involve applying (with fingers tightly crossed) to one of the aforementioned practices, but there are still many building commissions left to be assigned. There will also be landscaping, engineering, transport and other aspects of the developments to be worked on. Recruitment specialists are starting to advertise architectural jobs as 'jobs for 2012 Olympics'.

The Olympic seed has evidently also been planted in our schools of architecture, as exhibited amongst the new RIBA Presidents Medals entries. If you have yet to look, get on the website, its always good for a bit of a relief from an inspirational block.

The entries that quite clearly arrived out of an Olympic brief include a basketball centre by Tim Weeden at Kingston University, and my personal favourite, Sophie Goldhill at the Royal College of Art who describes her project thus; "The project readdresses the traditional 'chocolate box' images of famous London landmarks, pushing them into the new millennium by bringing the games back into the heart of the city. Situating shooting at the Tower of London, cycling round the G.L.A and high diving off tower bridge."

What are your views on the London Olympics? Should we all be given Olympic related projects at University to be entered into the competitions for specific projects? Would you like to work on an Olympic project or do you find the thought of it just to stressful? Emails will be in with a chance to win this weeks book prize.

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23/12/05 Last updated 23/12/05