Our Top 5 Olympic Venues

With Olympic fever hitting us all hard it would be no surprise to find more than the odd work colleague calling in an uncharacteristic sick day. Without intending to damage productivity we feel it is our duty here at FutureCapeTown to scratch our Olympic pox. Here are our top 5 favourite venues set to host events at the London Olympics 2012.

1. Velodrome

The timber clad Velodrome by Hopkins Architects is an easy winner. Simple, elegant and classy this venue we consider timeless. Its toned down façade treatment is well balanced with an evocative form which emphasises the steep banks of an indoor cycling track. Definitely watch the video above, and check out a timelapse of the construction period over here.

2. Aquatic Centre


The Aquatic Centre by Zaha Hadid architects  noses into second position. This building has some incredible spaces and the evocative forms one would expect from Zaha do not disappoint. This is typified by the ceiling which seemingly finds its inspiration in the dolphin kick of an Olympic swimmer. We do however find fault at the starchitect excess this roof required and consider it the trait of yesteryears icons. The temporary stand extensions also appear as awkward clip-ons but knowing the best is saved for the locals works in this buildings favour. We’re certain she’ll be a beauty once her braces are removed.

3. Shooting Centre


Grabbing a podium finish is the shooting arena by Magma architecture. The arena scores major points for its temporary structure, being capable of reuse at different locations and future events. What edges it ahead of the rest is its playful take on ‘bullet holes’ which add a bit of fun and bold colour to the Olympic line-up. Furthermore these bright dents have a useful purpose providing tension nodes and points of natural ventilation in the façade.

4. Basketball Arena

Just missing the podium is the basketball arena by Sinclair Knight Merz in partnership with Wilkinson Eyre and KSS. The vast structure is very white but an elephant it is not! It too is capable of re-use at other events. Working in its favour is its efficiency particularly when one considers that it is the largest ever temporary arena. Despite the random pattern we do however find the building a little less fun than its shooting range contemporary.

5. Olympic Park

The fifth position is awarded to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and master plan itself. It is positioned in the previously neglected East of London upon what was an industrial wasteland. The park stitches together multiple well populated communities and as part of its legacy will see the construction of affordable housing. This also ensures the venues will have users in the future.

All in all a good set of competitors, worthy of any sick day, even if the sport they might be hosting is an early round of curling.

Image courtesy of davehighbury at flickr.com


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There are 4 comments

  1. Adriaan Bester

    This looks like a dream for any lover of Lego or Simcity – the city of London has put together a spectacular showpiece so far. Our dear Cape Town will shine in few decades, best we start planning now. 

  2. Dalli Weyers

    Come on Future Cape Town. By not restricting the competitors to individual venues and then placing the entire Olympic Park at number five, you’ve got it all wrong. The Park that rejuvenates, reconnects disparate communities, includes the future construction of affordable housing and that makes the other venues sustainable can’t be compared to, let alone appear on a list alongside, those individual buildings and then most certainly can’t be placed last. Starchitect foregrounding above broader community systems thinking needs to be a thing of the past.

    1. futurecapetown.com

       Correction: The Park with the potential to rejuvenate (although the site has already been decontaminated) and the potential to reconnect. The affordable housing is not high up on our list in terms of architecture, given the budget cuts, but in terms of the legacy, the park is indeed a massive positive.

      The park here was considered in terms of landscape architecture.

      You would also be interested in:  http://futurecapetown.com/2011/09/part-1-lessons-for-cape-town-to-approach-global-events/#.UBr3y0SL2FU

  3. OSlOlSO

    Such a nice read. My favourite is the Aquatics Center. However, I might be a little biased. Swimmers for the world! 

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