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Paul Finch: 'Treat Olympic designers with the courtesy and credit they are due'

The AJ’s Paul Finch has called for the country’s architects to be given the applause and appreciation they deserve for their work on London’s 2012 Games

Although the DC CABE chair enjoyed the Olympic opening ceremony he was left infuriated by the lack of credit for who those who designed the venues.

While Thomas Heatherwick was acknowledged by the BBC as designer of the ‘cauldron’ for the finale, Finch points out that no mention was made of stadium architects Populous.

Finch says ‘it has become embarrassingly apparent that [architects] have been treated as being useful for as long as there was a job to be done, but not thought of as major contributors to the success of the Games thereafter.’

Speaking about the strict marketing constraints designers have been subjected to he added: ‘What is particularly galling about the Stalinist control of information and publicity is that it affects the designers of the buildings that we, the British public, have paid for.’

‘There is something in our culture which seems to disregard the significance of architects in the creation of great buildings’, says Finch, hailing Nicholas Grimshaw as an example of an architect overlooked in the celebration of the Waterloo Euroterminal.

‘Imagine the impact on the world if our architects and designers had been invited to take a bow at the opening ceremony,’ he says, adding that the gesture would have increased export prospects for British architects yet to work overseas.

Read the full text of Paul Finch’s column

Readers' comments (2)

  • Yasmin Shariff

    Go to any Olympic venue and it is buzzing with excitement and joy. Architects have inspired the nation and the world with their skilful designs. It is not only the ingenuity of their elegant structures. Venues are designed to manage vast numbers of people- keeping them safe, fed, secure and making places that are good to be in and inspirational. Perhaps the closing ceremony could celebrate the fundamental part that architects have played.

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  • Fair play indeed. Suggest Danny Boyle adds an inner "Matisse Dancers" legacy-circle of the responsible architects around the cauldron for the closing ceremony. Perhaps dressed as models of their respective buildings for a bit more of DB's "daring, genius, creative" GB fun?
    That's the kind of intelligent, assertive, pro-actively asymmetric, paradigm-shifting, disruptive and principled leadership we need. You should be appointed EMAP Editor-in-Chief for life.
    Well done Paul!
    Nigel Anthony Reading RIBA
    Design Director
    Ideas Realised
    Shanghai Hong Kong London

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