Monday, July 30, 2012

Designing the London Olympics

The Olympic Village
[exterior photos by Edmund Sumner via Dezeen / interior photos via Houzz]

With all of the work that goes into preparing for the Olympics, its a wonder that any city volunteers to host. But in constructing arenas, apartments and competition centers for the games, each host city has the opportunity to transform itself.

Once the athletes move on (with or without medals), London's Olympic Village apartments will be retrofitted with kitchens to become a new residential community, and other newly constructed buildings will take on second lives of their own. Whatever their new purposes may be, the East End is sure to see a dramatic change.

Click through to see more of the most impressive projects built for the 2012 London Olympics.

I initially planned to show two photos of each building, but the London Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid is too complexly beautiful for that. Hadid's ultra-modern design is always hit or miss for me, but I'm in awe of the contrasts here - the harsh materials softened by sinuous curves and the stark grays of concrete and chrome making the colors of the pool and stands come alive.

Unfortunately, the London Olympics' basketball arena by Wilkinson Eyre Architects is only a temporary structure. There was some talk of deconstructing the arena and transporting it to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 games, but Brazilian officials decided against it. Seems like such a waste!

Sustainability was top of mind in constructing the 6,000-seat Velodrome by Hopkins Architects. Both the western red cedar covering the building's exterior and the Siberian pine used for constructing the indoor track were certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. An abundance of natural ventilation and light reduce energy needs, and the roof collects rain to cut water usage by over 70 percent.

All photos here are by Edmund Sumner unless otherwise indicated, and he has done a truly incredible job documenting the architecture of the London Olympics. You can view the rest of his photos from London 2012 here.


  1. It is such cool architecture! I wish we had the Olympics in my city so we could build some amazing structures!

  2. Wow it really is interesting to see all the work that goes behind one event! I've never even thought of the after effects - so cool that the apartments will still be used for residential purposes! :)



    in style

  3. Aren't those pools and diving platforms amazing? 

  4. Thanks so much for sharing friend!!! I also thought to myself why on earth would a city volunteer for this?!?! It is so much work! Although I am super excited to revisit London and see what these structures become.

    MISS YOU TOO!!!! It's been too long!

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