Entrance detail, Aquatics Centre, Olympic Park, London by Zaha Hadid Architects
[Working detail 18.08.11] Entrance Plaza for London 2012 Olympic venue
The roof responds to the different functional and design requirements with a single expression. We see it as simplifying these complex requirements into an easily understood form, which helps visitors use the building. The roof projects beyond the pool hall envelope, extending over what will be the main entrance after the Games on the bridge.
One of the biggest challenges was to maintain the design’s simplicity while incorporating the technical requirements of performance and construction: not only the structural design, but also the extensive services and access. In particular, the roof houses the large amount of lighting required for high-definition television. Much work has been done to incorporate these without sacrificing the simplicity of the roof’s geometry.
As the most visible expression of the roof and the venue, the underside is clad in timber, used for its tactile qualities as well as its ability to be applied as strips, which describe the fluidity of the form. Extensive research was undertaken to find a sustainable timber which not only has high durability and quality of finish, but is also FSC certified. We selected a tropical hardwood called red louro which satisfied all of the criteria.
The temporary stands cover part of the ceiling, leaving the uncovered part to weather. A one-off finish was applied to the entire ceiling, giving the timber the silvery appearance that normally comes with weathering, and avoiding a ‘tan line’ in the timber when the temporary stands are removed.
Jim Heverin, project director, Zaha Hadid Architects