Athletics events had started in the Stadium when I revisited the Olympic Park during the second week of the Games and the arrival of an additional 80,000 spectators from all over the world charged the atmosphere. Although the Park and venues have provided a great setting for this transient festival of sport, the pressure of managing the large number of spectators has led to extensive perimeter crowd barriers and tented ticketing pavilions. This creates an odd situation, in which even fine permanent structures acquire an ad hoc character. In previous blogposts* I have criticized the temporary spectator stands at Hadid Architects’ Aquatics Centre, but in retrospect there seems little alternative to accepting a husk of temporary accommodation and Olympic branding, which will be cast off on the conclusion of the Games. In fact access to these temporary stands, via stairs which penetrate the raking structure, has an expedient grandeur.
The foundation for the success of the Olympic Park lies in the infrastructure of paths, bridges, copses and meadows that have been overlaid on the banks of the river Lea. Add carefully placed temporary structures, several permanent buildings and a hundred thousand spectators and you have a wonderful environment for the Games. For those lucky enough to have been there, the memory of the sporting drama at this place will stay with us for a long time to come. We can look forward to the Park opening to the public next year and hope that the redevelopment of the area following the Games will also confound the sceptics.
*blogpost 28.04.12 & 05.08.12
|The Aquatics Centre temporary stand|
|The Basketball Building|
|Signage is crude but effective|
|The Water Polo Building|
|Temporary stands and access smother the Aquatics Centre|
|Temporary crowd barriers and tented pavilions are ubiquitous|
|Temporary access and signage at the Aquatics Centre|
|Access to the temporary stands - Aquatics Centre|
|Inside the Aquatics Centre|