Plans to re-use Olympic basketball arena in Rio shelved
Rio 2016 has abandoned flagship plans to recycle the £43 million London 2012 basketball venue
The president and chief executive of the municipal body charged with delivering the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, Maria Silvia Bastos Marques, confirmed the ambitious programme to dismantle, transport and rebuild the temporary structure in Brazil had been binned because contractors proposals were not competitive on cost grounds.
She told the AJ the ideal solution would have been a ‘turn-key project’ whereby the entire structure was re-erected but Empresa Olimpica Municipal, the organising body, was unable to cost this because Barr Construction – the contractor for the project who is responsible for finding a permanent use for the building – failed to table such a proposal.
She said Barr’s proposal to transport only the building’s envelope and frame – and for temporary seating and pitch facilities to be sourced locally – was ‘not competitive with building a new one.’
The project’s abandonment is a set back to legacy ambitions to only build facilities where a long term legacy can be secured.
The 12,000 seat arena – designed by Wilkinson Eyre with sports specialist KSS Architects and engineer Sinclair Knight Merz – was planned so that two-thirds of its materials and components could be reused or recycled after the games.
A Barr spokesperson declined to comment on the reasons for the relocation falling through but said discussions were underway over a potential permanent use for the structure for basketball in the UK
They said: ‘What we own is the structure and envelope and we have responsibility for relocating that [permanently]’.
The spokesperson added they were unaware of any plans to relocate the £43 million structure to Glasgow for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, as widely reported.
A government spokesperson for the Olympics said: ‘No final decision has been made about where the Basketball venue will go after the Games. We are currently working with the manufacturer to ensure that we achieve the best long term legacy use for the venue. There is considerable domestic interest in re-housing the venue.’
Ian McKenzie, head of venue development at Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014, said: ‘We have discussed the possible relocation and reuse of facilities and equipment from London 2012 with LOCOG, the ODA, the GOE and others. While there are opportunities that we are exploring, we have not identified a use for the Basketball Arena and currently it is not in our plans.’