London unveils Olympics Stadium

By Kevin Hilton

The design for the centrepiece stadium of the 2012 London Olympic and
Paralympic Games has been revealed. The eye-catching structure has been
described as a giant fruit bowl and will host the Opening and Closing
Ceremonies as well as all athletics events. The 80,000 arena is
the heart of the Olympic Park and was designed by HOK Sport Limited. It
will be built on a budget of 496 million, although there has been
criticism in the British press that the whole project is already
spiralling above original projections. After the Games the stadium will
be converted into a permanent venue, offering 25,000 seats.

The
sunken bowl is intended to bring spectators closer to events on the
main field. An unusual feature is the wrap that surrounds the venue,
with the intention of providing extra shelter for those inside. The
roof will be supported by cables and cover two thirds of the crowd.

The
chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, the body responsible for
the infrastructure of the Games, said the stadium was designed to be
different. “‘Team Stadium’ has done a fantastic job against a
challenging brief,” comments John Armitt. “The innovative,
ground-breaking design will ensure that the Olympic Stadium will not
only be a fantastic arena for a summer of sport in 2012 but also ensure
a sustainable legacy for the community who will live around it.”

The
huge project of building in preparation for the Games is already
beginning to take shape, with St Pancras station re-opening last week.
The historic terminal is now the main station for the Eurostar link and
fast trains will run from St Pancras to the Olympic Stadium.

The
Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, adds, “This cutting edge design
really shows how London’s Olympic Stadium will be a stunning back-drop
to the Games and become one of the most famous buildings in the world
for a summer in 2012 and beyond, making Londoners and the whole United
Kingdom proud.”