Tuesday, August 21, 2012

after the olympics, london 2012

[Failing to disrepair: 2008 Beijing BMX track (top), 2004 Athens Galatsi Hall]

The 2012 Olympics ended nine days ago and London is working to piece itself back together. A huge public event like the Olympics has many design decision, and thus, many design discussions. Everything from the look of the medals, the origin of the uniforms, the logo and mascot, and the buildings themselves were fair game for critique. That lengthy debate and decision making process is partially why Dutch architecture, research and urbanism studio XML wrote in a study for the Dutch government that in the future democratic nations will find it difficult to host the Games.

[Still in use: 1940's canceled Helsinki tennis court turned mall (top), LA's 1932 and 1984 arena was borrowed from USC]

Great Britain is a democratic country, and overall, did an excellent job. Some design decisions were lacking, such as this shooting area that reminds me of a Target retail store, but London seems to have survived without major issues or threat of bankruptcy. Most importantly for an Olympic host, they have a post-Games gameplan. Many countries have struggled to use the large buildings built for the variety of sporting events as well as the Olympic Village. National Geographic profiled the successes and failures of several hosts, seen in the images here. The London Games were built in East London, with the goal of revitalizing a depressed area in a city that struggles to provide affordable housing. Dezeen has more details on the neighborhoods, public parks, health centers and schools built largely with private funding.

 Daniel Moylan, Chairman of the London Legacy Development Corporation said: “Central London is moving east. Bringing the Games to east London has accelerated investment in an already growing area and now the world’s attention is focused on this fantastic part of the city."

There are two parts to success post-Olympics. London had the first- intent. Purposeful design has given the city a leg up in repurposing the buildings and revitalizing East London. Only time will tell if they have the second- follow through.

Images: National Geographic.

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