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Lighting tower detail: The Olympic Stadium by Populous

[Working detail 07.04.11] Sports lighting towers

In order to illuminate the action on the field of play to sufficient levels for high-definition TV, there are 532 lights organised into 14 towers, with up to 42 lights per tower, at a height so that spectators don’t experience uncomfortable effects of glare. Standing 63 metres above the field of play, the lighting towers are the crowning element to the 2012 stadium roof design.

Each tower weighs 35 tonnes and takes a triangular three-dimensional form, reflecting the geometry of other elements of the design, and is constructed from white painted tubular steel. Following extensive design co-ordination of the structural and services engineering requirements with the architecture and very onerous access arrangements, the lights, their control gear and five levels of access gantries were preassembled into their framework on the field of play and tested prior to being lifted into place.

The access ladders, platforms and guard rails have a galvanised finish to recede behind the dominant white triangulated lattice framework. The towers are propped from the structural nodes of the tension ring of the roof below and are leaning forward, restrained by cables from the compression truss behind, and tied to the adjacent rigs to form another ring, hardly visible from the field of play.

Philip Johnson, principal, Populous

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