We’ve all heard of the record-breaking times, longest distances and of course, winners of those coveted medals, but according to 99% Invisible there is a lesser-known Olympic Games honor participants have received: awards in architecture. In an article tracing the history of this bizarre tradition, Kurt Kohlstedt explores how medals were awarded to five categories of the arts during the Olympic Games, presented to participants alongside their sporting competitors.
ANSKA has unveiled Spots, a series of temporary floating platforms to host micro-events for the Paris Olympic Games of 2024. Intended as an alternative to classic river typologies like barges or heavy structures, Spots are modular systems that can easily be assembled or disassembled, allowing them to become durable programmatic solutions.
While Spots was designed for the Paris Olympics, where modules would be hooked to the riverbanks to create a complimentary route for the Games, facilitating a greater exploration of the city, the micro-typology of the project could be applied “to any river and city,” as well as to Parisian suburbs and industrial areas.
Just over a week ago in beautiful Rio de Janeiro the Olympic Games, the world's largest sporting event, came to an end. The Games, as well as the FIFA World Cup, have been a driving force for the city over the last six and a half years. In the wake of the frenzy caused by the much-anticipated event, Rio will have the Paralympics, which will take place between the 7th and 18th of September. But then what?
The word "legacy" being associated with major world events is nothing new. We see it used a lot when referring to the Olympics and the World Cup, and it’s come up time and time again in recent years when we look at the lasting effects these events have had on host cities like Barcelona (1992), Athens (2004), Beijing (2008) and London (2012). Essentially, the issue revolves around some fundamental questions: Who are the major beneficiaries of the "legacy" of the Olympic Games? Were the huge public investments worth it? Will there be any improvement for the general population? Can the equipment that was built be adapted for everyday use?
Penda has designed a prestressed double-helix bridge spanning China’s Gui River that will become an integral part of the infrastructure system for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The San Shan Bridge, which translates to 3 Mountains Bridge, draws inspiration from the interlacing of five rings in the Olympic Symbol to create a form evocative of the area’s mountainous landscape.
The biggest sporting showdown of the world, Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games 2016, will commence in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil from August 5. Around 10,000 participants from 204 nations are expected to descend in Brazil, unleashing fierce competition and rivalries.
It is going to be a make or break event for the city of Rio de Janeiro, which has got the privilege of being the first South American city ever to host the Olympics games. It is estimated that around half a million fans and supporters are expected to grace the event in Rio, making it hard for the city officials to control the proceedings.
Situated on the peak of Bergisel Mountain above the picturesque alpine city of Innsbruck, Austria, the Bergisel Ski Jump represents the contemporary incarnation of a historic landmark. Designed by Zaha Hadid between 1999 and 2002, the Ski Jump is a study in formal expression: its sweeping lines and minimalist aesthetic create a sense of graceful, high-speed motion, reflecting the dynamic sensation of a ski jump in a monumental structure that stands above the historic center of Innsbruck and the mountain slopes around.
Henning Larsen has been selected to design a pavilion for Denmark for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Opening on Ipanema Beach from August 4-21, 2016, the pavilion – named “The Heart of Denmark” – will feature a tent structure that utilizes building techniques appropriated from sailboat construction. Inspired by Denmark’s maritime history, Danish architecture, the landscape of Rio de Janeiro and the buildings of Oscar Niemeyer, the pavilion will marry aesthetic iconography of both Denmark and Brazil.
Diller Scofidio + Renfro has released the first images of their design for the US Olympic Museum in Colorado Springs, close to the United States Olympic Committee headquarters. The firm was selected last October, collaborating with Denver practice Anderson Mason Dale Architects to design the $60 million museum which will host a hall of fame, a theater, and a 20,000-square-foot exhibit hall and retail space to showcase the history of the Olympic and Paralympic games.
Seoul-based architecture and art practice Planning Korea has unveiled their design for a seaside resort hotel, to host visitors to the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Offering 946 rooms and sprawling across a 29,493-square-meter site, the hotel will offer a combination of marine and mountain leisure activities.
The US Olympic Committee (USOC) has unanimously selected Boston as its applicant city for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The culmination of a 22-month evaluation process, Boston was selected over Los Angeles, Washington and San Francisco.
“This bid uniquely combines an exciting, athlete-focused concept for hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games with Boston’s existing long-term vision,” says USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. “We look forward to working with Mayor Walsh and the Boston 2024 team to fully engage with the local community and identify ways we can make the bid even better.”
3XN and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have released images of a new headquarters planned for a 24,000-square-meter site on banks of Lake Geneva in the Swiss city of Lausanne. Adjacent to the historic Château de Vidy, which has been the “iconic home” of the IOC, 3XN’s design is intended to respect both the château’s legacy and park setting, while making the transition from park to building as “soft” as possible.
The US Olympic Museum committee has selected Diller, Scofidio + Renfro to design a $60 million museum in downtown Colorado Springs. The New York-based practice will collaborate with Anderson Mason Dale Architects of Denver and exhibit designer Gallagher & Associates to showcase the Olympic and Paralympic's history through exhibits and artifacts. Once complete by early 2018, the museum will include a hall of fame, theater, a 20,000-square-foot exhibit hall and retail space. Designs are expected to be released by mid-2015.
The New York Times has run a fascinating thought experiment in rendered form: What would it look like if the winter Olympics were held in New York City? From luges through Times Square to ski jumps over Bryant park, the ideas are certainly fantastical - but also fun lessons in scale. See them all here.
The 2014 Winter Olympics has commenced in Sochi within the shell of Populous’ Fabergé egg-inspired stadium. Built solely to host the opening and closing ceremonies, the Fisht Olympic Stadium's translucent polycarbonate roof bears a slight resemblance to the nearby, snow-capped peaks of the Caucasus Mountains. Once the Games are complete, the stadium’s 40,000-seat capacity will be expanded to accommodate the 2018 FIFA World Cup, before retiring as a scaled-down, 25,000-seat home venue for the local football team.
Populous’ stadium is just one of eleven purpose-built venues within the “Coastal Cluster” Olympic park. Check out a few others that caught our eye, after the break...
This four part series (originally published on Aggregate’s website) examines The Gherkin, the London office tower designed by Foster + Partners, showing how the urban icon engaged and leveraged perceptions of risk. In part one, author Jonathan Massey introduced the concept of "risk design” to describe how the Gherkin’s design managed the risks posed by climate change, terrorism, and globalization. In part two, below, Massey examines the Gherkin’s enclosure and ventilation systems in detail to explain how the building negotiated climate risk.
In a poster promoting London’s bid to host the Olympic Games, the Gherkin supported gymnast Ben Brown as he vaulted over the building’s conical peak. The image associated British athleticism and architecture as complementary manifestations of daring and skill, enlisting the Gherkin as evidence that London possessed the expertise and panache to handle the risk involved in hosting an Olympic Games.
But a poster created three years later offered a very different image. Created by activists from the Camp for Climate Action to publicize a mass protest at Heathrow Airport against the environmental degradation caused by air travel, this poster shows the Gherkin affording only precarious footing to a giant polar bear that swats at passing jets as its claws grasp at the slight relief offered by spiraling mullions and fins.
London-based studio Weston Williamson has been announced the winner of the Brasilia Athletics Stadium competition. The international competition, associated with the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, called for designers to envision a 70,000 seat stadium in the nation's capital.
After a government report earlier this month found that the London Olympics had brought a £10-billion-boost to the UK's economy - effectively breaking even with the initial investment after just one year - the architectural community has begun to question whether the built legacy of the games will be worthwhile in the long run.
Guardian critic Olly Wainwright is scathing about the Olympic park, particularly the developments at the edge of the site: "At every junction of this roaring A-road sprouts a steroidal tower, each clad in ever more lurid colours, transforming the street into a gauntlet of competing ambitions. Looming over adjacent council estates, these brash totems are a monument to Olympian greed... Strip away all the festive colours, though, and you'll find that these are actually mean-minded silos of tightly packed one-bedroom flats, mostly sold overseas for buy-to-let."
Find out more about Wainwright's investigations, and other opinions of the Olympic legacy, after the break.
In "How (Not) to Host the Olympics," I suggest that, when it comes to Olympic Planning, there is one Golden Rule: “The best thing to do if you’re bidding for the Olympics, Is to Not Get the Olympics.”
However, a recent article from The Atlantic Cities' Emily Badger takes that claim to question.
Badger follows up in Chicago, a city that bid - hard - for the 2016 Olympics (which will take place in Rio de Janeiro). As she puts it: "We often ask what Olympic cities really get in return for all the money, energy, and construction chaos invested in hosting the world's largest sporting event. But the story of cities that vie for but never win the Games raises a different question.
'What does putting together a bid that is unsuccessful leave you?'"