With Rio 2016 right on our doorstep and the exciting buzz of the Olympics Games building fast, we thought now would be a good time to discover what became of the famous buildings from London 2012.
At Rytons we pride ourselves on discovering the right candidates for a whole variety of construction jobs in London, so it’s interesting to see how all of the building developments in the city take shape. And as for the stunning, yet strikingly simple, architecture that was developed for the London 2012 Olympics, we wanted to know what happened to them after the torch was passed to Rio.
The idea of the buildings was to provide a lasting legacy long after the games were over and they were intended to regenerate a squalid wasteland and post-industrial part of London by providing a new community on a previously unloved site. With the city struggling under the pressure of the housing crisis and the need for skilled workers in building site jobs ever pressing, it’s great to see something positive being done to regenerate deprived parts of the capital.
While only a handful of the 34 venues built for the games were permanent, the intention was to leave structures and areas which would continue to be useful for the people of London and safe to say they have achieved this in the four years since they were built.
Here are a few examples:
Michael Hopkins and Partners’ Velodrome
Now known as the Lee Valley Velopark, this elegant building has mostly remained the same both inside and out and, now open to the public, still continues to serve the same purpose for which it was intended – to indulge the love of everything two wheeled from track cycling to BMX and mountain biking.
Allies and Morrison’s Olympic Press and Broadcast Centre
Once fairly uninspiring as the boxy base for the massive media coverage that took place in 2012, now it has been transformed into a Technology Innovation Centre which offers commercial spaces for start-ups and tech giants who are drawn to the creative hub that is East London.
Make Architects’ Olympic handball arena
Otherwise known as The Copper Box Arena, this is now the third largest indoor arena in London, a community leisure centre and gym, location for sporting events, concert venue and conference centre.
Popolous’ Olympic Stadium
One of the most recognisable buildings of the 2012 Olympic Games, this magnificent venue is still able to host both world class football and athletics. Soon to become the home of West Ham United this month and the National Competition Centre for athletics, all that’s been done is to make the roof bigger to satisfy the requirements of the Premiership.
The huge green area in the centre of the 3,000 homes of the Olympic village is now an area for the neighbourhood to enjoy and is surrounded by a scattering of local shops to add to the community feel. What was once the Olympics village is now the residential area of East Village with new housing that fits well with the surrounding London landscape.
The defining UK project of the late Zaha Hadid, is not only a lasting legacy from the 2012 Olympics, but a reminder of the tremendous talent of one of the most influential architects of our time. With the seating stands removed, it still remains a powerfully striking building and one of the more popular former Olympics buildings, where members of the public of all abilities can now go for a swim at the same price as their local pool.
While it would be fair to say that there has been the odd eyesore left over from the London Olympics, it’s pleasing to see that the majority of regeneration and construction still remains a tremendous achievement and a legacy which will positively benefit the city for years to come.