Among the best elements of the 2012 London Olympics will be the 'data pavements' and 'beams of light' leading enthusiasts to gathering places with virtual presentations of the events. Don't be surprised if this is an aspect of the games that you had not heard of before. It is not, sadly, part of the current plans but 'merely' the winning entry in the latest Corus student architecture competition (see Metalworks, pages 51-66).
Because competitions have such a long gestation period, all the students developed their solutions well before it was known that London had actually won the bid. But this lack of hard information certainly didn't hamper their imaginations, though it was interesting to see how their approaches divided. Some were full of concepts with little idea of how to execute them.
Others had worked out uninspired designs in the most painstaking detail. Only a few, and they were the best, managed to combine the two aspects in their entries.
By the time the games are held, these students will, with luck, be successful practising architects. At the moment we are going through a hiatus with the games, as we move from the winning concepts to the appointment of the final teams. With little actually happening, concerns are being expressed about the quality of design and execution, tied up with larger worries about the regeneration of the Thames Gateway. Terry Farrell was the most recent to express his worries in an interview on BBC1 on Monday.
The campaign that won the London Olympics succeeded partly through its emphasis on how the games would benefit young people and involve them with sport. Wouldn't it be lovely if a similar approach could be taken to involving nascent architects in some of the projects, giving them the best professional training one could imagine as they moved from concept to realisation? As the award-winning entries show, there is certainly no shortage of ideas.