Architecture & The Olympics

So many brilliant sporting moments have occurred at the Olympics. Usain Bolt’s triple triple at the Rio Olympics last year, the Super Saturday at London 2012 and Jesse Owens’ incredible stand against racism with his four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. But all these amazing moments were made more powerful by the venue in which they happened; some of the greatest stadiums in sport. The grand Olympic stadiums are always at the heart of the occasion, so we take a look at some of the brilliant pieces of design, engineering and architecture that have gone towards the brilliant sporting arenas at the Olympics.


Beijing National Stadium by Herzog & de Meuron, Beijing 2008

Here we have one of the most celebrated designs of any Olympic stadium. The 2008 Beijing Bird’s Nest, which was just an example by Herzog & de Meuron of brilliant and beautiful design.

Beijing National Stadium by Herzog & de Meuron, Beijing 2008

Beijing National Stadium by Herzog & de Meuron, Beijing 2008

 

Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid, London 2012

Although it wasn’t the main stadium, this Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid is my favourite structure from the London Olympics. The smooth, fluid design beautifully mimics the sport that it hosts and is a great piece of architecture.

Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid, London 2012 - Olympics

Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid, London 2012

 

Estadi Olimpic de Montjuïc by Pere Domènech i Roura, Barcelona 1992

This stadium was in fact renovated by Italian architect Vittorio Gregotti for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona but it was originally built by architect Pere Domènech i Roura in 1927.

Estadi Olimpic de Montjuïc by Pere Domènech i Roura, Barcelona 1992

Estadi Olimpic de Montjuïc by Pere Domènech i Roura, Barcelona 1992

 

Olympiastadion by Werner March, Berlin 1936

It was in fact Hitler who commisioned this building for the Games in 1936, in a bid to show off German wealth and prosperity. It was the host to one of the most controversial Olympic Games to date due to the increasing political tension. Designed by Werner March, it had the capacity for 110,000, which for the time was a very large amount of spectators. It would’ve been a very impressive sight at the time of the Games. The iconic bell tower was destroyed during WW2 but renovation works in the latter years saw this great arena restored and improved to what it is today. A magnificent stadium with a very rich history.

Olympiastadion by Werner March, Berlin 1936

Olympiastadion by Werner March, Berlin 1936

 

Montreal Olympic Stadium by Roger Taillibert, Montreal 1976

Named The Big O for it’s donut shaped roof, this is more on the wacky side of the arena’s we’ve looked at. It is very ambitious design, and perhaps too ambitious because they began to have structural problems with the stadium’s roof during and after the games.

Montreal Olympic Stadium by Roger Taillibert, Montreal 1976

Montreal Olympic Stadium by Roger Taillibert, Montreal 1976

 

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum by John and Donald Parkinson, Los Angeles 1932 and 1984

This almost gladitorial stadium was the first stadium to host two different Olympics. It was the host to the brilliant Games in 1932 and also in 1984. It is a very grand and Roman-esque design thought up by John and Donald Parkinson and it could host yet another in 2024 if Los Angeles win their bid.

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum by John and Donald Parkinson, Los Angeles 1932 and 1984

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum by John and Donald Parkinson, Los Angeles 1932 and 1984

 

Olympiastadion München by Frei Otto, Munich 1972

Despite the tragic events that occurred at these Games, the wonderful stadium and should not be overshadowed. This was a wonderful piece of design and engineering by Frei Otto, which hosted the 1972 Munich Games. A very futuristic and pioneering design at the time which created large spaces covered by canopies.

Olympiastadion München by Frei Otto, Munich 1972

Olympiastadion München by Frei Otto, Munich 1972

 

Estadio Olimpico Universitario by Augusto Perez, Raul Salinas and Jorge Bravo Moro, Mexico City 1968

Named “the most important building in the modern America” by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, this was first built in 1952 and hosted the 1955 Pan American Games but was expanded for the Mexico Olympics in 1968.

Estadio Olimpico Universitario by Augusto Perez, Raul Salinas and Jorge Bravo Moro, Mexico City 1968

Estadio Olimpico Universitario by Augusto Perez, Raul Salinas and Jorge Bravo Moro, Mexico City 1968

 

Yoyogi National Gymnasium by Kenzo Tange, Tokyo 1964

This stadium’s brilliantly engineered roof became the focal point for Tange’s design and it is set to be reused for the 2020 Games in Tokyo, after Zaha Hadid’s design was controversially thrown out and replaced with a design by Kengo Kuma.

Yoyogi National Gymnasium by Kenzo Tange, Tokyo 1964

Yoyogi National Gymnasium by Kenzo Tange, Tokyo 1964

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