|Dr. N. Subramanian
Joined: 21 Feb 2008
Location: Gaithersburg, MD, U.S.A.
|Posted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:13 pm Post subject: Olympic Stadium in London for 2012 games
|An Olympic effort: 80,000-seat stadium is declared finished
Matthew Beard, Sports News Correspondent Matthew Beard, Sports News Correspondent
29 Mar 2011
London today broke the world record for completing an Olympic stadium.
Construction of the landmark venue was declared finished today as the last piece of turf was laid by Olympic officials.
The stadium is located at Marshgate Lane in Stratford in the Lower Lea Valley and has capacity for the Games of approximately 80,000 making it temporarily the third largest stadium in Britain behind Wembley Stadium and Twickenham Stadium. Land preparation for the stadium began in mid 2007, with the official construction start date on 22 May 2008, although piling works for the foundation unofficially began four weeks ahead of that date. Construction ended on 29 March 2011.
It has taken only 1,000 working days to complete the 80,000-seat venue in Stratford at a speed that was hailed as showing the capital's readiness to stage the "greatest show on earth".
The final £486 million cost came in £10 million under budget.
The architects, Populous, formerly known as HOK Sport, is an architectural firm specializing in the design of sports facilities and convention centres, as well as planning of major special events.
As of June 2009, the stadium's track and field arena has been excavated out of the soft clay found on the site, around which permanent seating for 25,000 has been assembled, using concrete "rakers". The natural slope of the land is incorporated into the design, with warm-up and changing areas being dug into a semi basement position at the lower end. A demountable lightweight steel and concrete upper tier has been built up from this “bowl” to accommodate a further 55,000 spectators, and is nearing completion
The cable supported roof structure will cover approximately two thirds of the stadium's seating. A six month study conducted by Olympic organisers found that while no roof at all could invalidate any potential world records set at the stadium, a partial roof reduced the chance of winds that can invalidate sprint and jump records from 50% to 5%. The roof will be made from a lightweight polymer based membrane.
As an International Olympics Committee delegation made their eighth visit to the capital today to check on preparations, Mayor Boris Johnson said the breakthrough gave London a huge advantage over other host cities such as Barcelona, Sydney and Athens. Mr Johnson said: "This is yet another fantastic milestone in the preparations for London 2012. The faultless construction of the stadium, on time and under budget, is a shining example of how London is primed and ready to host the greatest show on earth.
"The real joy of being so far ahead is that, unlike any other host city, we are already able to focus on securing the legacy we are so determined to deliver from the Games." Some work remains to be done, such as laying the running track. But this has been deliberately delayed to prevent it being damaged when giant cranes arrive to erect gantries for the opening and closing ceremonies. The Games will begin on Friday July 27 next year.
IOC member Frankie Fredericks, a four-time silver medallist sprinter, was given the honour of laying the final piece of turf, less than three years after work began in May 2008.
The IOC was given further reassurance when the Olympic Delivery Authority, which has overseen the construction work at the Olympic Park, said the sports infrastructure would be finished in July.
Site in 2009
Built and designed respectively by Sir Robert McAlpine and architectural practice Populous - the team behind Arsenal's Emirates ground - the stadium has employed 5,000 workers from 240 British businesses.
The last of 360 rolls of turf, grown in Scunthorpe, was laid today to complete the 9,000 square metre infield area.The running track - a blue surface by Mondo- will be laid later this year by organiser Locog. In its place is a temporary Tarmac surface resistant to the cranes that will lift into place stage sets for the opening ceremony.
History will associate the Olympic stadium with two controversies: its original bid book budget of £240 million has more than doubled though that figure was never seen as realistic.
The ODA have also been criticised for spurning the chance four years ago to install retractable seats over the running track to make it more attractive to football clubs.
Last month the post-Games future of the stadium was secured when West Ham were handed the long-term tenancy.
Stadium by numbers
80,000 seats Capacity in Games mode but designed to be flexible after.
40 acres Area of the stadium island, surrounded by water on three sides.
60 metres The height of the stands.
860 metres Stadium perimeter.
5 major new bridges into the site.
3 years Construction started in May 2008, completed ahead of schedule.
5,250 People involved in the project.
532 Individual floodlights in 14 towers to meet high-definition TV standards.
* The turf was grown in Scunthorpe and laid over three days this month.
* The track will be laid later this year.
The stadium design received a mixed response from the media, with reviews ranging from "magnificent" to a "bowl of blancmange".
The Olympic Stadium design was promoted as example of "sustainable development", but some architecture critics have questioned both its aesthetic value and suitability as a national icon - especially when compared to Beijing National Stadium. For example, Ellis Woodman (Building Design's architecture critic) said of the design:
"The principle of it being dismountable is most welcome… it demonstrates an obvious interest in establishing an economy of means and as such is the antithesis of the 2008 Olympic stadium in Beijing. But while that's an achievement, it's not an architectural achievement. In design terms what we're looking at is pretty underwhelming."
He went on to criticise the procurement and design processes – stating of the latter that that it should have been subject to an architectural competition.
This view was echoed by Tom Dyckhoff, The Times's architecture critic, who described the design as "tragically underwhelming" and commented that the "architecture of the 2008 and 2012 Olympics will, in years to come, be seen by historians as a "cunning indicator of the decline of the West and the rise of the East".
Amanda Baillieu (Building Design magazine) challenges the designer's claims that the stadium is environmentally sustainable and good value for money. Instead it is asserted that the reality will be the opposite. In particular, she claims that:
* the temporary roof could not be reused to cover the permanent 25,000 seating area – given the difference in size;
* it is unlikely that the removed seating would be wanted for any other event e.g. the Glasgow Commonwealth games; and
* the costs involved in dismantling the stadium – and surrounding "pods" – has not been factored into the estimated cost.