London 2012 Olympic Stadium / Populous


The Beijing 2008 Olympics happened less than a year ago, but the preparations for the next games in London already started. Beijing’s Bird’s Nest made quite an impression for everyone who enjoyed the 2008 Olympics so Populous faced a difficult challenge in designing the Olympic Stadium for London 2012. The new stadium will be complete summer 2011 and will host 80,000 spectators during the Games. More images and architect’s description, after the break.

The challenge in building a stadium for a specific event lies in creating a structure that is both temporary and permanent. This is the essence of our stadium. By embracing the temporary, we have been able to explore materials, structure and operational systems in a completely different way. Each component takes a sustainable approach that uses only what is needed for the event and then transforms to a long term future use; the whole process uses a minimum of services.

The forms are simple but legible, promoting not only the exact, precise nature of the great spectacle that is an Olympic and Paralympic Games, but lending themselves to the eagerly anticipated fun and entertainment of its Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

The articulate, elegant and lightweight structure frames the building ‘wrap ‘. This porous, translucent printed fabric allows the building to breathe naturally, using a minimum of fixed mechanical systems. Through modern printing techniques, we can use the ‘wrap ‘ to communicate to the rest of the Olympic Park and beyond – to the city of London that surrounds it on all sides and the .

The design makes full use of the site’s island situation, exploiting it to promote the carnival nature of the event. The water course acts as a natural boundary, with spectator facilities – toilets, bars and food concessions – laid out along the soft water edge. The play of light and water and its ebb and flow will form a vibrant, exciting setting, enhanced by a series of spectator concession pods grouped into colourful clusters.

Cite: Jordana, Sebastian. "London 2012 Olympic Stadium / Populous" 26 Aug 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <>
  • fino

    I would wish for a sustainability association to maybe get together and distribute an honest mission statement about sustainability. Is it derived for the greater good, to really think about taking care of our planet, or is it really a reflection of building economics? I guess what I’m saying is, are we using sustainable design as valid excuse to being…….cheap and impermanent. I’m almost positive that hardcore sustainable designers have never intended for people to perceive design in such a way. I would love a further discussion about this.

    • helen


  • Balkan

    It sounds very “cutting edge” approach concerning that something so huge going to be temporary. I support the idea but the execution of the concept could be on a much bigger level since this is a stadium for Olympics, especially since this is the first one after the “Bird’s nest”.

  • teddy

    I think the design intent is in the right place, but I agree with the comments above when they say that the Olympics are a place for fantasy. Fabric can do so many things without depending on cylinders and printed graphics. Whether a reflection of building economics or a reflection of some utilitarian aesthetic, I’m dissatisfied with these renderings.

  • Kris

    There is a video about this project on the Squint website.
    Maybe you can add it? It’s really stunning, it shows how the stadium works during the games but also afterwards.

  • Tim R

    I did not care for this stadium’s form upon first glance. However, after reading about its concept of simplicity and being temporary, the overall form reflects these beliefs quite well.

    I thought HOK was behind this project?

    • LeRone

      HOK changed their name.

  • theChavacano

    Well I think formal simplicity is the best way to go after the bird´s nest, I would like to see more of this stadium, where the sustainability lies besides the “open the window and you wont need A.C.” which seems to be the “great breaktrough” in sustainable architecture.

  • Ivan

    Please tell me this is joke.
    Give the proyect to Rem, Herzog, or even Zaha if you want some shiny forms. Any of them could do better than just “colorful” disguised on pompous clichés concepts.

  • Kong

    This is WAY TOO NORMAL.

    I am sure you can still come up with an exciting design even with temporary structures and while adhering to sustainable principles.

  • GeorgeFP_SA

    I agree with Kong…way too “everyday”. Surely after the Bird’s Nest in Beijing, one would want to make as big if not a bigger impression!

    This building is BORING!!! [Sigh]

  • NMiller

    I like the idea of making part of the stadium temporary. Olympic-sized stadiums have a problem with using and maintaining the facility after the games. The Bird’s Nest is a prime example of this… the facility is deteriorating quickly because of lack of use and high maintenance costs… tourism is currently the primary revenue generator.

    I like the floating membrane roof in the bowl. However the truss system seems so boring and conventional… and the supergraphic is beyond cheesy….

  • Bennet

    ……..Nothing Innovative to become an iconic Image for London Olympics. Eventhough, the Idea of being temporary and sustainable as the concept is good, Image interms of Form and Expression do matters for such an International Institution

  • Mathew

    I’ve been to the Bird’s Nest several times… it’s not that impressive in person, especially during the day, and especially when there are no fireworks exploding.

    Populous’ stadium seems right… Less is more.

  • Plagiattore

    Nice, Copy and Paste Project!!
    Look at the stadium in Leverkusen, Germany:

    Greets Plagiattore

    • Juni

      I have to say… you are right. Nice project for Bayer Leverkussen btw

      • helen

        except leverkusen was an renovation/reconstruction while this is just embarrassing for london.
        theres a million options for it to be beautiful/”green” without looking like all the parts were purchased from walmart..

  • EgoConcept

    Its just way to simple. Too symmetrical, too boring

    This is not supposed to be a normal stadium, people expect more from the olympics..but then sustainability comes to mind…how much WASTE does every olympic city produce by building these olympic cities, one every 4 years…?

  • raffa

    and it costs 550m pounds.

    its a smack in the face of the great modular/temporary architecture designs at expo’s and fair.

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  • Onder

    i want to see the other proposals about london 2012 main / and other stadiums.

  • shamim

    oh my god…i dont know what to say. just a copy paste product & it costs 550m pounds.
    come on its Olympic 2012…u have to impress the world.

  • TBX

    I think this building raises an interesting question as to how permanent we want our buildings to be? Is it really alright to just fill up all available space with massive buildings that are all competing to take all the attention of the world around them?

    It could be interesting if buildings would be designed to be able to be simply deconstructed (instead of demolished) after 50 years or so. It would make for flexible cities, that can reinvent themselves over and over again and evolve along with technology.

    As for the design itself: I like the honesty in the structure. It’s a no-nonsense build-up, with a colourful membrane around it (in itself flexible to change). Sure it’s a bit of a lost opportunity for an impressive design, but a gained one for sending a message…

  • Hefty

    I think this is quite a disappointment to what stadiums should look like. Looks like a dish of Trifle.

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  • Amu

    I would like to add that this project is nothing but a hype. I don’t understand whether spectators will be visiting to enjoy the game or appreciate the arcade. It is just a waste of time and money and obviously a way to sell their expensive tickets. Well i suggests you to enjoy the games at home. Its worth investing in a big screen television set than to waste enormous amount of money that you would spend otherwise traveling all the way to the venue and paying for worthless tickets. Just mull over it.

  • nguyen thanh

    i thick that : that it very cant make by from wood

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