The Olympic Stadium
The lightest Olympic stadium ever built, it will remain the UK’s premier athletics venue, including hosting the World Athletics Championships in 2017, as well as other sporting, cultural and community events.
With a capacity of 80,000, it has a permanent lower tier with a capacity of 25,000, and a temporary steel and concrete upper tier, which holds a further 55,000 spectators, that can be dismantled after the Games.
Built with 100 per cent sustainably sourced timber, the Velodrome’s design incorporates natural ventilation and lets in an abundance of natural light, reducing the amount of energy needed for artificial lighting. Its roof collects rainwater that will reduce mains water usage by more than 70 per cent.
The venue’s designers worked closely with a design panel, including Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, to tailor the track geometry, temperature and environmental conditions with the aim of creating a record-breaking track.
The Velodrome took just two years to build and was completed in March 2011. In April 2012, it won a major Architecture Award at an awards ceremony hosted by the Design Museum.
After the Games, the venue will be handed over to the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority to form the heart of a new VeloPark for use by the local community, clubs and elite athletes. This will also include the reconfigured BMX track, a new mountain bike track and a new road cycle circuit, as well as a cafe, bike hire and cycle workshop facilities.
The Basketball Arena
Known as the White Hall, it is the largest temporary stadium ever built, and will be dismantled and relocated after the Games to serve other parts of the UK.
The venue’s frame is made up of 1,000 tonnes of steel and is covered in 20,000 square metres of a recyclable white PVC fabric that will form the canvas for spectacular lighting displays during the Games.
The venue is just as visually impressive from the inside, with its black and orange seats representing the colours of a basketball. The arena’s giant frame was set up in less than three months during spring 2010.
Initial works started on the Basketball Arena in October 2009, and construction was completed on time and within budget in June 2011 – making it one of the quickest Olympic Park venues to be constructed.
The Copper Box
Hosting the handball and goalball competitions and featuring a pioneering rainwater harvesting system, the Copper Box will become a major multi-use sports centre for public and athletes to use.
The venue was designed and built with sustainability as a priority. Among its many innovative features, the roof of the Copper Box is fitted with 88 light pipes that allow natural light into the venue, reducing the demand for electric lights. This will achieve annual energy savings of up to 40 per cent. Rainwater collected from the venue’s roof will be used to flush toilets and reduce water use at the venue by up to 40 per cent.
The glazed concourse level that encircles the building will allow visitors after the Games to see the sport taking place inside and illuminating the venue when lit at night. The top half of the venue is clad in 3,000 square metres – mostly recycled – to give it a unique appearance that will develop a rich natural colour as it ages.
Construction began in July 2009 and it was the third competition venue on the Olympic Park to be completed in May 2011.
Designed by leading architect Zaha Hadid, this will serve as a flagship swimming centre for clubs, schools, athletes and the general public.
With a capacity of 17,500, the Aquatics Centre’s spectacular wave-like roof is 160m long and up to 80m wide – giving it a longer single span than Heathrow Terminal 5. The venue features a 50m competition pool, a 25m competition diving pool, a 50m warm-up pool and a ‘dry’ warm-up area for divers. The Water Polo competition is being hosted next door in the temporary Water Polo Arena.
The venue’s roof proved to be one of the most complex engineering challenges of the Olympic Park big build. Its skeletal structure rests on just two concrete supports at the northern end of the building and a supporting ‘wall’ at its southern end. This steel framework was initially constructed on temporary supports, before the entire 3,000-tonne structure was lifted up 1.3m in a single movement and successfully placed back down on to its permanent concrete supports.
Work began on the inside of the venue once the roof was in position. The three pools were dug out, lined, filled with water and tested, before they were fitted with more than 180,000 tiles. Construction on the venue began in July 2008 and was completed in July 2011.
Other venues in legacy
- Lee Valley White Water Centre is already open to the public and will continue to operate as a world class white water rafting centre for public and elite teams beyond 2012;
- After hosting the Wheelchair tennis during the Games, Eton Manor this will be converted into a major community sports centre, including a hockey centre, five-a-side football pitches and tennis courts;
- And in Weymouth and Portland – the upgraded National Sailing Academy will continuing providing state-of-the-art facilities for public and elite sailing teams after the Games.