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Thursday24 July 2014

Burdett and Rogers back scrapping of Olympic stadium wrap

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The scrapping of the fabric wrap around London’s 2012 Olympic stadium should be welcomed because it did nothing for the landmark’s appearance, the ODA’s design champion has claimed

Ricky Burdett is now the design adviser at the Olympic Park Legacy Company but was at the ODA when the wrap – initially described as a “fabric curtain” – was unveiled three years ago.

At the time, the wrap was intended to wend itself around the Populous-designed main stadium, acting as a colourful adornment as well as providing additional shelter for the 80,000 spectators from wind and rain. It was also thought the extra protection it offered athletes would create the right track conditions to help them break world records.

But it was ditched last week as part of savings made following the coalition government’s comprehensive spending review.

An ODA spokesman said computer modelling had revealed the wrap would have no impact on athletes’ times.

He added: “The decision not to proceed with the external stadium wrap is part of an overall saving of £20 million as part of the spending review.

“Studies on wind in the stadium concluded that the wrap was not required to ensure the appropriate conditions on the field of play so the wrap was purely cosmetic.”

Burdett said ditching the wrap would enhance the stadium’s design. “It’s a simple and rather elegant structure,” he said.

“I rather like the building as it is. It’s very clear as it is and putting a wrap around it would cancel all that. I don’t think the wrap looked very sophisticated. I don’t think visually it was necessary.”

And Richard Rogers, whose brief as former mayor Ken Livingstone’s architectural adviser included the 2012 Games, agreed.

“It’s an excellent idea,” he told BD. “The structure is much more interesting.”

The decision is expected to save £7 million but the Department for Culture Media & Sport said that if a sponsor wanted to take on the cost, the idea could be looked at again.

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Readers' comments (3)

  • zecks_marquise

    Oh yeah that makes total sense, becuase it is never windy or rainy in a British summer.

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  • Andrew Gilmour

    Was this Wrap going to be by Christo?

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  • ''getting rid of the wrap is an excellent idea''
    ''if a sponsor wanted to take on the cost the idea could be looked at again''
    These two statements clearly contradict each other. This situation is rapidly degenerating into another Great British compromised, penny pinching, shameful mess. I despair.

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