Aiming to host the most sustainable Olympic Games to date, London has invested in intelligently designed, innovative venues for the hundreds of sporting events that will take place in the Olympic Park in the next few months. As construction finishes on the final few projects, we take a look at the structures that have gone up over the last 3 years.
The Copper Box\
Finished after two years of construction in May 2011, this 115,000 cubic meter structure will host handball, goalball, and modern pentathlon. The facility is covered in nearly 3,000 square meters of mostly recycled copper cladding, and incorporates 88 light pipes to help reduce the need for artificial lighting by up to 40 percent. Rainwater harvesting will be used to flush the arena’s toilets and help reduce overall water consumption by 40 percent, as well.
Part of the ‘gateway’ to the Olympic Park, the Aquatic Center was designed by the architect Zaha Hadid, with an iconic wave-like roof that extends 160 meters and is 80 meters wide. The 2,800 ton rooftop rests on only two concrete pillars and a wall support on either end of the structure. The unique roof structure is lined with over 11,000 square meters of recycled aluminum, with the supporting wall doubling as a biodiversity space for wildlife and fauna.
One of the Park’s temporary structures, the Basketball Arena is one of the largest non-permanent venues ever built for the Olympics. It consists of a 1,000 ton, 35 meter high steel frame with a weather resistant cover, all of which can be taken down and reused elsewhere for sporting events across the UK.
This wheelchair tennis site was first home to Construction College East London, with many graduates being employed for the building of the Olympic Park itself. The facility’s ‘brown’ roofs will double as habitats for wildlife, and the venue will hold over 10,000 spectators.
The most sustainable Olympic Stadium ever built, London’s main arena is 75 percent lighter than comparable stadiums to reduce steel consumption, and features low-carbon concrete, recycled gas pipes and earthen support. Over 6,500 cubic meters of crushed concrete, recycled from other Olympic venues, was used to create the Stadium’s platform. The arena will have a capacity of over 80,000 for the Games with a combination of permanent and temporary seating, and contains more than 700 rooms.
Taking nearly three years of construction, the Velodrome is the most sustainable venue in the Park. Certified environmentally-sourced wood, 100 percent natural ventilation, natural lighting and an elegant design make this one of the most eco-and-aesthetically appealing buildings. 6,000 spectators will enjoy the arena and its immense glass wall, giving 360 degree views of the Park. Because it was built on top of a 100-year-old landfill site, pilings had to be driven 26 meters into the ground.
With nearly 3,000 new apartments, the Olympic Village will house up to 16,000 athletes and officials, featuring ‘green roofs’ and meeting London’s new ‘Code for Sustainable Homes Level Four’ standards – meaning a 44 percent reduction in carbon emissions and 30 percent reduction in water usage.
Biomass boilers and a Combined Cooling Heat and Power plant in the Park’s Energy Center will provide low-carbon power for the Games, while the dredging of over 30,000 tons of earth have created waterways to prevent flooding.
The Park has also seen the planting of more than 4,000 trees and a half a million plants in one of the largest landscaping projects undertaken in the United Kingdom, with wetland areas and wildlife preserves dotting the Park. With these construction efforts, the 2012 London Olympic Games are sure to be nothing short of spectacular.