With the first London Olympic events underway, the lead-up to the games has been long forgotten.
The hard work that goes into getting the games started is often lost in the excitement of the moment, and the overwhelming grandiosity of the opening ceremonies and all that follows. The architectural efforts that have gone into this major international event, however, are not so quick to be forgotten.
With the games’ architecture and infrastructure upgrades – and the critical acclaim these have garnered – in full focus during the lead-up to the events, the designers and developers have come up with a plan that has the positive effect of keeping the industry efforts in the limelight even after the games are finished.
With the London Olympics standing as one of the greenest ever, recycled buildings have been gaining notice, and recycling will continue to play a key role in gaining long term potential from the built landscape while keeping the carbon footprint low.
This practice has seen the development of one of the world’s largest McDonald’s restaurants located in East London. As a main sponsor of the Games, the large-scale building has been designed in line with the Games’ guiding environmentally-responsible ideals, with its recycled-material form designed for easy disassembly and further recycling.
Another structure that has seemingly gone under the radar – the world’s largest temporary structure, no less – is the London Olympics Basketball Stadium.
Just as Melbourne’s Pixel Building has been designed for disassembly, so too has this 1,000-tonne steel structure. However, its nature is far more temporary than that of the Pixel Building. Created by a design cohort including architectural firms Sinclair Knight Merz, Wilkinson Eyre and KSS, the basketball arena has been standing for over a year now thanks to its lightweight, easy to construct design.
Mobility and minimalism stand at the root of this structure’s design ideology – a complete contradiction to the traditional design mentalities that go into traditionally monumental Olympic architecture. While an event such as the Olympics presents a particularly opportune time for greater infrastructure and stadium investment, there is a limit to that potential, with economic and structural waste a real downside if new structures are not maintained after the games.
Recycling materials and designing for disassembly is not a new concept. It is a very clear example of long term sustainability planning that goes beyond the newly forming ‘norms’ of green building.
While buildings of this nature are not the norm for events of this scale they are certainly being welcomed by both the industry and the Olympic Delivery Authority for their long term economic and environmental benefits.