The 2012 Olympics are now underway, and everyone is tuning in to watch world-tier athletes compete for fame, glory, and personal fulfillment. Team USA stars like Michael Phelps, Lolo Jones, Alexander Massialas, Natalie Coughlin and Gabrielle Douglas are filling headlines and capturing the rapt attention of American audiences (and fans worldwide!). But among the many Olympics categories, such as synchronized swimming, fencing and sprinting, there is one other “event” that is four years in the making: Olympic Architecture!
When a city is declared the official location for the next Olympic Games, local designers and construction workers immediately get to work. They need to create venues that will both match the majesty of the occasion and dazzle tourists. These stadiums stand as a symbol of national pride and are often massive revenue sources for local government, so their designs are definitely not taken lightly! And this year, sustainability and eco-conscious design were very important. The Olympic Stadium was built as a landmark achievement in eco-friendly design.
London’s Olympic Stadium is located in Olympic Park, Stratford, London, U.K. For the building, the London Olympics created a Sustainability Plan which includes 5 major tenets.
- Climate change — greenhouse gas emissions were reduced and facilities were designed to be adaptable to climate change.
- Waste – there was clear focus on minimizing it every step of the way in the construction of the project, preventing any landfill use during the actual games,
and utilization of new East London waste processing methods.
- Biodiversity – protecting the local wildlife and their habitats was critical.
- Inclusion – attendance was encouraged by all peoples at the Games, and new employment and business opportunities for citizens of the UK were created.
- Healthy Living — an obvious and inherent part of the Olympic Games, the building and events are meant to encourage and inspire sports and the adoption of
healthy, sustainable lifestyles.
To these ends, the stadium’s composition is over 30% recycled, and it uses 60% less potable water than similar contemporary stadia. A special cold foam process was used for the access roads, which reduces the energy needed to lay them and adds to the total recycled content.
Another important feature of the stadium facilities? They’re “temporary” designs, meaning that they can be reduced in size once Olympics 2012 are over. This way, they won’t simply become ghost towns using up valuable space and wasting precious resources. During the games the stadium seats 80,000, but after the closing ceremonies it can be reduced in size to a 60,000-seat permanent stadium in legacy when the upper tiers are removed. In addition, this stadium uses half the steel of most modern stadiums, which makes it the lightest Olympic Stadium ever constructed.
The Aquatics Centre, home to the legendary Olympic water sports and designed by Zaha Hadid, is also temporary in design. Seating 17,500 people for the Games, it can be reduced dramatically to a 2,500-seater when the two wings are removed. Ammonia-based chillers were used instead of traditional HFC chillers, reducing the climate change impact. The post-games design for the Centre was built to the BREEAM excellent standard.
Sustainability is a big concern in the world today. John D’Amelio, President of Precast Specialties Corp., has always emphasized the value of precast and its role in a project’s LEED certification. Precast concrete wall panels can often be reused because they are so durable. It also minimizes waste on the job site, and it’s partially composed of recycled materials like fly ash and recycled steel. Precast concrete is inherently sustainable, and a great choice for eco-friendly construction.
The Olympic Stadium facilities were recently nominated for the 2012 Stirling Prize, the top award for architecture in Britain. And you bet precast concrete has something to do with it! Precast seating tiers and plinth, combined with the white main structural elements and the secondary ones colored black, make quite the flashy ensemble that is also quite friendly to the environment! All in all, the facilities will provide an impressive and cutting edge stage for some of the greatest athletes in the world, and should inform and inspire building design for years to come.
Photo Credit: Times Live, Architecture List, Web Designer Depot
Precast Specialties Corp. specializes in architectural concrete panels, concrete roadway products and exceptional custom precast products including seawall panels, boat ramps and large support piers. All of our custom products are cast in our factory utilizing 5,000 psi, super-plasticized, air-entrained concrete. We can produce virtually any color, finish or texture to meet your project needs. Find out what our clients and contractors have to say about our work, or see for yourself by contacting us for your next project at:
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