What does it take to plan an Olympic Games?


Behind the Games – an overview of the planning and design of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games

London’s recent staging of the Olympic and Paralympic Games has been hailed the ‘best Games ever’. Aside from the strong showing by Team SA, it certainly was an exemplary performance for the host nation, both on and off the field. Team GB achieved a record medals tally, coming in third behind the USA and China, no mean feat for a nation whose population is only slightly larger than South Africa’s. The staging of the Games has also been a testament to the foresight, creativity, and industriousness of this island nation – the events themselves went off without a hitch (even the legendary English rain was kept at bay), and it all took place in a unique and extraordinary physical environment.
The successful staging of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games was the culmination of nearly 10 years planning, design and construction. But most importantly – the Games are not the end point of the process. Staging the Games is being used by London as the catalyst for an extraordinary re-positioning of the east end of London. For nearly 2 millennia, London’s East End has been the wrong side of the tracks – 20 years of new development, with the Games at its physical and temporal centre, aims to shift the East End onto a more equal footing with the rest of the city. This presentation by Guy Briggs will take us through the process of planning and design for the Games and its legacy.

Guy Briggs is Principal at GB|USPD, as well as Head of Urban Design at dhk. As Urban Design Director at the London office of EDAW|AECOM from 2003 to 2009, Guy Briggs was part of the Olympic master planning and design team, and led the team charged with the preparation of the broader regeneration strategy.

  • Venue: Cape Institute for Architecture – 71 Hout Street, Cape Town
  • Entry fee: UDISA members – free | Guests – R30 (Payable at door) | Students – free upon producing student cards

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