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Ticketing mishap restricts views in Zaha’s £268m Aquatics Centre

Around 600 spectators have been sold tickets for Zaha Hadid’s showstopper London 2012 Aquatics Centre unaware they will not be able to see the top of the diving board

The sloped roofs of the 17,500-seat arena’s ‘wings’ mean a small number of seats will offer restricted views during 10 metre diving platform events.

Some spectators – who shelled out between £30 and £50 for seats at the top of the temporary stands – will be only be able to watch star athletes including Team GB’s Tom Daley and Sarah Barrow begin their dives on big screens within the 42,866m2 venue.

A LOCOG spokesperson said the tickets were sold after the test event ‘once we had tested these seats and were satisfied with the spectator viewing experience.’

The spokesperson added: ‘There may be a small part of the dive which the spectators in these seats can’t see. It is only a very small component – and they can view the whole dive on the big screen.

‘We are in the process of emailing spectators who have these tickets to explain – and we are happy to give a full refund if they are not happy.’

Around 2,400 seats were not offered at all for sale because of restricted views.

In a statement Zaha Hadid Architects explained its brief was to specifically provide 5,000 spectator seats for the 10 metre ‘high board’ diving events - all with uninterrupted views.

A spokesman said: ‘The centre actually provides more than 8,000 seats with uninterrupted views of the 10m platform events. This is more than 3,000 additional seats than the brief required,’ it said, adding: ‘LOCOG approved the sightline studies and seating layouts over two years ago.’

Fitted out by LOCOG, the temporary stands feature 15,000 seats and will be dismantled following the games.



Ticket holder Karen Peters said:’ I received an email last evening to say that the view from your seat/s is restricted slightly by the installation of speakers as well as the overhang from the roof of the Aquatics Centre.  They are offering a full refund or a partial refund if we attend and are not completely satisfied.  They should be offering these seats to us for FREE.  These seats have been clearly mis-sold and it is not an acceptable situation. I will be contacting the authorities.’


Have you booked a seat with a restricted view? If so, send us your thoughts

Read AJ technical editor Felix Mara’s building study on the Aquatics Centre, Olympic Park, London by Zaha Hadid Architects

Readers' comments (3)

  • classic zah...well done

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    having seen it from the outside 6 months ago i did think the wings looked a little too high

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  • So the architect met the requirements of the brief, and in fact exceeded them. What were they thinking? They should have known the media would attack them regardless. Maybe they should have knocked 12,000 seats out of the design so that no-one could complain of restricted views.

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