15 June 2012
Summer Olympic Games: how has London changed?
The United Kingdom’s capital will host the 2012 Olympics, one of the most important sports events in the world. The 2012 Summer Olympic Games, are scheduled to take place in London, from 27 July to 12 August 2012, followed by the 2012 Paralympic Games from 29 August to 9 September. Great events call for great transformations. So how has the city changed while awaiting the Olympic Games, especially talking from an architectural point of view?
London will host the Olympic Games for the third time, after 1908 and 1948, and impressive projects have been and will be inaugurated, signed by famous architects, that will change the city’s face forever.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to: the Olympic Stadium, Velodrome, Handball Arena, Basketball Arena, Aquatics Centre and the International Broadcast Centre.
All these venues have been ready for a year, patiently awaiting to welcome the world’s greatest sportsmen and women. Back in July 2006, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) set out the ambitious target to complete the main venues a year before the Games. This means that the Olympic Park site has been cleaned and the new venues and infrastructure needed have been built in time for test events by the summer of 2011!
What is more, besides the sports facilities, a huge urban plan started already years ago, too. This includes:
Shard London Bridge. A pyramid-shaped skyscraper in Southwark. Previously known as the London Bridge Tower, this is a “transparent” 72-story sky scraper designed by famous architect Renzo Piano and when it will be finished, soon, it will break all of London’s records.
The Pinnacle. A 64-story building designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, which will stand right in the middle of London’s “heart”, between Bishopgate and St. Mary Axe. Unfortunately, due to the financial crisis, the building won’t be ready by Olympics, the inauguration being scheduled for January 2013.
BBC Broadcasting House. 80,000 sq.-mt of studios, editorial and offices. This building will be home to BBC News, Music, Radio and World Service and was designed by MJP Architects.
King’s Cross Station. Designed by John McAslan&Partners, the modernized London’s King’s Cross station was opened to public last April as part of one of the most ambitious and expensive projects going on in the city, the King’s Cross Central.
Tate Modern 2. Herzog & de Meuron, the same architects who have designed the world famous Tate Modern, also worked at this new futuristic, eco-friendly building, which is an extension of the existing facility.
And talking of eco-friendly issues, besides the crave for everything being ready and fantastic in London, on time for the 2012 Olympics, one big concern regarded also the environmental protection of the city. Therefore, in order to show the approach to a sustainable change, London organized the NLA, the London’s Centre for the Built Environment, proposing a series of exhibitions about this topic. It is a permanent display giving a great panoramic of the most significant projects in the city in terms of architecture and environmental contribution. The idea is catching on, and the city is thinking more and more green!
That’s good news too!
Photo by franksteiner