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Video: Populous reveals Olympic Stadium transformation

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Populous has released this video explaining what has changed in the stadium and surrounding park since the 2012 Olympic Games

Over the last three years arena has been transformed, to create a world-class venue for a range of sports and events including football, rugby, athletics, cricket and concerts, with a new flexible seating system.

The stadium’s original running track has been retained, and an automated system of retractable seating included into the new
design, with all four sides of the lower bowl able to move over the running track when in football mode.

Once complete, the reconfigurated roof will be the largest cantilevered roof in the world at 45,000m² and 84m wide at it’s furthest point.

According to the practice, the shape will improve acoustics by reflecting the noise of the terraces and projecting it towards the pitch.

The iconic triangular lighting towers that once stood over the old roof during the Olympics have been inverted and now hang underneath the new larger roof.

At the peak of the transformation project, 25 Populous architects and support staff were working full-time on the site in Stratford.

There has been controversy over the rising cost of converting the Populous-designed stadium into a multi-purpose venue which is to be shared by West Ham FC and UK athletics. Once complete it is predicted the new home for the football club will cost around £701million - marginally less than Wembley which at £798 million was the most expensive stadium built in the UK.

West Ham are to move into the new home in 2016, and the work on the stadium is currently paused for the stadium to host five matches for the Rugby World Cup.

Key facts of the transformation

  • Installing a new 45,000m² cantilevered roof – twice the size of the original – covering all seats and the largest of its type in the world.
  • Strengthening work to the superstructure to support the weight of the new roof.
  • Installing a cable net formed of 6km of steel cable weighing 930 tonnes to support the roof. 
  • Installing 5,423 pieces of steel weighing 3,900 tonnes. 
  • Fitting 6,300 insulated rear panels to improve acoustics and 3,600 translucent polycarbonate panels at the front of the roof. 
  • Installing 14 new floodlight paddles weighing 45 tonnes and housing more than 540 lamps.
  • Fitting retractable seating for 21,000 spectators to allow the athletics track to be exposed in summer and to create a more flexible field of play.
  • Building 16 executive boxes and 3,600 corporate hospitality seats.
  • Building 995 toilets, 90 new turnstiles and 35 catering outlets. 
  • Installing a new Desso pitch with under soil heating and drainage.
  • Providing up to 428 wheelchair user accessible viewing spaces, making it one the most accessible stadiums in the country.
  • Refitting the interiors including state of the art dressing rooms, medical facilities and kitchens. 
  • Building a new 400m six-lane (eight on the straights) community athletics track and 500-seat stand
  • Landscaping works around the Stadium complex


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