Despite being nearly a third built, Populous’ ‘temporary’ stadium for the London 2012 Olympics may be redesigned as a permanent, 80,000-capacity venue in latest legacy u-turn
Earlier today (25 June) legacy chief Baroness Ford said she was looking to retain the Olympic stadium as a permanent large-scale venue and a possible host ground for a 2018 World Cup.
The move signals a drastic u-turn on the original legacy plan for the Olympics, which envisaged the stadium as a semi-temporary venue which would be converted into a smaller, 25,000-capacity sports school and athletic ground in ‘legacy mode’.
According to the Evening Standard, Ford said she was convinced the ‘beautiful’ stadium could pay its way as an all-year ‘visitor attraction’ and become part of London’s ‘iconic offer’.
As a result, stadium designers Populous - formerly HOK Sport - could be asked to rework the scheme which is already well under construction (see right).
A spokesman for the London Development Agency, which is currently handling the legacy plans until a special post-Games vehicle is officially set up, said: ‘These issues have to be looked at. [A redesign is a] possibility at this stage.’
Another source close to the project said: ‘The implications of keeping the stadium would be considerable, but…not impossible. There was already an idea being floated to keep the roof structure.. to provide a big visitor focus.’
It is understood the main area requiring a rethink would be the stadium’s outer skin which would have to be made to last much longer - a move which would undoubtedly mean further costs.
The £525 million stadium, which features a demountable upper tier, was hailed as a ‘cheap’ alternative to the grandiose stadiums built for other Games such as Herzog & de Meuron’s Bird’s Nest in Beijing, China.