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Tuesday22 August 2017

Olympic Stadium’s latest design unveiled

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See the latest designs for the London 2012 Olympic stadium and join in the debate about its design qualities.

The London 2012 Olympic stadium, designed by HOK Sport and Peter Cook, could be wrapped in a material made from the cannabis family of plants, it has emerged.

For the first time, details of the stadium’s layout, scale, appearance and the external materials to be used – which could include hemp – have been revealed in a new planning application.

Accompanying images also reveal that the temporary wrapping around the stadium will boast giant ‘slits’ to allow the public to walk through this facade rather than under it as previously envisaged.


Detail of the fabric wrap showing new slits
Detail of the fabric wrap showing new slits


The application reads: “The emphasis in the design has been and will continue to be on minimising the quantity of material, whilst still producing the required performance.

By designing a lean, compact and lightweight stadium, the amount of materials used, and the associated embodied energy have been significantly reduced.”

It also highlights the stadium’s sustainability credentials, with the Olympic Delivery Authority claiming these are superior to the Sydney Olympic stadium and other recently completed football stadiums.

However the exact nature of the controversial fabric wrap which forms the stadium’s elevation is still unclear.

“Sustainable materials, options for the roof and wrap fabrics are currently being investigated,” the application states.

“These include materials using recycled polymer based fabric, hemp and where the polymer based fabric can be recycled after use. Many of these materials could also be re-used after the games for other purposes.”

The application also suggests recycled ship containers could be used as internal toilet pods.

BD’s architecture critic Ellis Woodman said: “This is all about the stadium’s green credentials but the issue about its formal expression is one that the designers have still failed to address.

“They are still short of an idea. At the very least, the ODA should be commissioning artists to create the wrap rather than using third-rate graphic designers.”

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Readers' comments (36)

What do you think about the changes to the facade?

  • Is there no one at bd with the nerve to say how ugly this design is? It looks like something from Mechanics Illustrated.

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  • what a grandious idea, wrapping shipping containers with hemp... maybe somebody should try some of the hemp.... before starting to design sorry guys, but not more than boring at the very best...

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  • How about this as an idea to make it green, just don't clad it. All the hemp is doing it hiding untidy engineering and architectural engineering. If you designed the stadium well in the first place you could dispense with the cladding which will no doubt be shipped from mars using even more co2 thingy's.

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  • Hemp's use in construction is steadily increasing. The primary use is the use of hemp core (inner) fiber mixed with lime, water, and sand which turns into a fossilized concrete. This "hempcrete" is strong, lightweight, flexible, and is great for both hot and cold conditions. More information at the Global Hemp.com Web site.

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  • yet more effort into something which is being dismantled afterwards.........

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  • How can temporary cladding, whatever the material, be considered as environmentally appropriate. Do the job properly rather than try to wrap it up in pretty materials!

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  • There goes our last hope for a drug free Olympics!

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  • gosh, not another ugly beast - is this really what people want as a national landmark?? bloody hell! this is not a piece of fine architecture, it's a big meccano set for structural engineers to have fun - wrapping it in hemp [regardless of its technological features] just doesn't make it cool...

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  • hemp as a cladding material because its green? stadiums that will be recycled to Chicago in 2016? whatever next will we think of to cover up for the fact that we have not allocated sufficient funding to build the olympics venues. to clock is ticking and yet we see another olympic venue being redesigned in a effort to cut costs, which in turn adds to the fees and causes a greater probability for delay. Why did we bother bidding as hosts if the we were going to have a fish and chips shop approach to building new legacy sports venues and regenerating East London and the Thames Gateway

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  • It seems someone has been under orders to liven this up a bit. A nice try but its still not convincing.

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