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Tale of two cities: Unprecedented rioting prompts AJ double cover

Next week’s AJ features a dual cover illustrating the impact of severe rioting less than 12 months before the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Subscribers will receive one of two alternate cover versions.

The first ‘London 2011’ cover depicts a burnt-out building in Croydon, south London.

The second ‘London 2012’ cover shows the interior of Zaha Hadid’s Aquatics Centre which was built for the London 2012 Olympic Games and is our building study.

The debate over the legacy of inner city regeneration and the capability of councils to cope with the rebuild will also feature in news.

Comment from AJ editor Christine Murray:

‘We had long planned to cover London 2012’s Aquatic Centre by Zaha Hadid and Wilkinson Eyre’s Basketball Arena in this week’s issue, but as riots erupted across London and the UK last week, we were struck by the unexpected irony of our front cover. This glorious photograph of the interior of Hadid’s swimming pool had become overtly politicised by the smouldering reality of our neighbourhoods (most of the AJ staff live in affected areas and our office is based in the heart of Camden).

‘As a 116-year-old journal of record, we often ask ourselves as editors what message we should send to the AJ reader of one hundred years hence. In an ephemeral virtual world, where Twitter feeds are unsearchable after two weeks, the permanence of a paper is a responsibility. The riots brought this long view into sharp focus – how to capture the context for London 2012. The solution was to create a second cover featuring the riot’s destruction to sit alongside Zaha’s glorious one, and every subscriber will receive one of two.’

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