This week’s post is directed towards plans for the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, which, despite their far proximity, have been under continuous review and discussion among the architectural community. With the recent environmental, or “green” push, issues of sustainability have been applied to these future projects. The first of which, the 2012 Olympic Games, to be held in London, is said by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), to be the “greenest games in modern times.” With innovations such as integrated renewable energy systems, water conservation, and low pollution along with recycling of materials during construction, the Olympic Village is doubtlessly gearing up to represent this popular shift towards sustainable living that the turn of the millennium has witnessed. The proposal for the 2016 Olympics has includes re-using the Los Angeles Coliseum as the centerpiece to the games. Although the design doesn’t add any of the “green” advantages, as does the London Village, the act of reusing the existing structure, is in and of itself environmentally savvy. The comments, posted below, address the balance between the design aesthetic and the intentions towards sustainability of these two projects.
Comment to How Green Will the London Olympics Be?
by Bonnie Alter
I appreciate your point that the environmental standards of the project are being put under tight review and are seen as possibly being not strict enough, while the idea of local indigenous communities being destroyed doesn’t raise concern. This gets into the issue of what is more sustainable: buying a brand new hybrid car, or just repairing the old one in the garage? Although I do believe it is more environmentally sound to take better advantage of existing structures and public spaces than to erect new ones that cause more pollution and create other environmental dilemmas, I do think the creating of a new Olympic Village is vital. Having not seen the full competition documents for the London Village, it is difficult to access whether the design would complement the Olympic Ceremony, but in the past, and in other proposals, the designs for these “global villages” represent international community and promote peace among nations. The erecting of new structures is symbolic of this effort and, without it I believe that the potency of the project would diminish. Given that, by erecting a building that is “green” is by all means appropriate in that it represents the global effort to be more environmentally efficient.
Comment to “Coliseum preps for face-lift; Games plan leaves the historic portion of stadium untouched” by Rick Orlov
My response to this proposal it double edged. I believe it is a great idea to re-use an existing stadium for the 2016 Olympics (as was mentioned, "this will be the crown jewel of the Olympics, as it was twice before”) however, there are glaring issues with the design and with the functionality of the renovation. Before commenting on these let me mention that the notion of re-use is for me the most sustainable process we have as designers. What is better for the environment isn’t to build a sustainable structure at all, but rather use what we have more effectively. However, although Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa embraced the plans, developed by architect David Jay Flood, I would like to state my disgust with these purely monetarily driven designs. In short, Flood’s proposal compounds the issue of a lack of student seating by reducing the total occupancy by 13,000 seats, and replaces them with 204 “luxury” box seats. These box seats are by no means luxury, but rather reflect the superficiality, in terms of both of its design aesthetic and structural integrity, that the entire endeavor is imbued with. The design is horribly unappealing, and rather than gearing the renovation towards improving the overall quality of the space, it is rather directed towards facilitating for the select high-dollar few. This move which still doesn’t bring resolve to even the box seats also sacrifices the experience for everyone else. In conclusion just let me add while the intent of some individuals may be interested in "spread[ing] the Olympic spirit throughout the region with events to be held everywhere" in order for this spirit to be experienced in the Coliseum is for a different design to be chosen.