New Olympic Basketball Arena is a Collapsible Flatpack

basket ball photo

Photo: london2012

The new venues for London's 2012 Olympics are rolling out faster than you can say "no tickets" which is another story, but first the basketball stadium...

Designed by architects Wilkinson Eyre and KSS design, the arena is collapsible and can be taken apart after the Games, to be used elsewhere (Rio's Games?). We love IKEA, but where's the architecture?

ball basket photo

Photo: london2012

The building's design purposely allows it to be deconstructed after the Games and reused. Given the outrageous cost of Olympic Games and the white elephant buildings left in their wake, a flatpack Olympics makes a lot of sense. The Guardian's architectural critic envisions a travelling Olympics, with structures popping up in poorer countries which couldn't possibly otherwise afford the expense. He calls it a whole new democratization of the Games and it's a pretty great concept.

In this case, the 12,000 seats may be used at Silverstone (Formula One car racing venue) and the outside structure may be shipped to Brazil for their summer Olympics in 2016. Not Sochi for the winter games, please.

interior basket photo

Photo: london2012

The building is not gorgeous, and doesn't compare to the stunning Velodrome or dramatic Aquatics Centre but it has been completed a full year in advance of the games. It is 35 metres high and longer than a soccer field at 115 metres long. Its frame is wrapped in 20,000 sq m of recyclable white PVC membrane, stretched over three different variations of arched panels. It is made by Envirowrap, a company that specializes sheeting systems that are recyclable and environmental. All the venue's facilities including elevators, toilet blocks, corridors and VIP access rooms are installed beneath the seating frame.

After the Games, it will be dismantled by the same people who built it, and hopefully shipped out to other Games and for other sporting uses. This is a particular coup for the ODA (Olympic Delivery Authority) who are committed to making this the greenest and most sustainable Games ever. They have just won a top green business award for an Olympic plan that was described as "a blueprint for future low-carbon projects".

oly tix photo

Photo: screenshot of Olympic application letter: B. Alter

No awards though for the ticketing system at the Games. The ODA concocted a system whereby one pays in advance for a a bunch of tickets, with the money being taken out of their accounts, before anyone knows what they were going to get. At the same time, people in Germany could buy the tickets for events that they wanted directly, just like in any sporting event.

So who got tickets: Colonel Gaddafi's son because he is on Libya's Olympic Committee and Lakshmi Mittal, Britain's richest businessman, worth £29.8billion, has 5,000.

Who didn't: 1.9 M applicants out the 2.9 M who wanted them. And Mayor Boris Johnson, who said: "I am personally disappointed not to have got any tickets...I'm massively disappointed and cheesed off."

More on Olympic Buildings
Touring the Olympic 2012 Site
Despite Huge Expense, London's Olympic Stadium Could Be Torn Down
London Olympic Stadium To Be World's Biggest Flatpack

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