As the London Olympic Games were set to begin, final touches were being added to make both the city and the sporting venues game-ready. Between the glitz and glamour of the opening ceremonies and a few athlete controversies, there was still plenty of attention being paid to the architecture of the Olympic venues.
The London Olympic Stadium has already been shortlisted for one of Britain’s most prestigious architecture awards.
Designed by architectural firm Populous, with the engineering services of Buro Happold, this £486 million stadium is one of five buildings shortlisted for the Royal Institute of British Architects’ £20,000 Stirling Prize.
The stadium has been hugely popular in industry circles for both its large 80,000-seat capacity, simple design and sustainable features. These were certainly key areas of note for the Institute, which has labeled the building’s detailing as ‘simple and elegant’ and one that provides ‘a surprisingly intimate relationship with the events.’
The stadium’s layered form allows for its high capacity and natural flow. The land’s natural slope has also been incorporated into the overall design. The majority of the stadium is made of lightweight steel and concrete, with the inclusions of a polyester and polyethylene exterior wrap, phthalate-free polyvinyl chloride (PVC) fabric covered roof.
The Stirling Prize has historically been awarded only to iconic architecture, with former winners including the ‘Gherkin’ skyscraper and the Scottish Parliament building.
The stadium’s nomination is an insight into the impact it is already having and the attention it has been garnering. While the public response to the structure has been mixed, with critiques and reviews ranging from those who have called it ‘amazing’ to others who have labelled it ‘an eyesore’, the official verdict from the Royal Institute of British Architects will come in October.
The structure will certainly be tested over the coming weeks. Surely holding up the massive expected crowds of spectators is an accomplishment in and of itself.