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Designing Olympic Stadium

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Published on Jul 27, 2012

What does it take to design an Olympic Stadium?

Lots of time and drawings. The urban planning work for the London Olympics started back in 2003 and architects started design work on Olympic Stadium in 2007. They created more than 20,000 drawings.

There are more than 500,000 spectator seats across the 35 event venues. An estimated 28 million ticketed spectators are expected. The general design idea was to create "a postcard of London" in the background of the venues. So the bike races will pass landmarks like Big Bend and the Tower of London. Greenwich Park, where royalty once hunted, will be home to equestrian events. Beach volleyball will be at the Horse Guards Parade, the longtime parade ground for the soldiers who protect the monarch. Henry VIII held jousting events there.
"It is a great volume of work with a great deal of complexity to it," said Bob White, director of international marketing for Populous, the Kansas City, Mo.-based firm that designed Olympic Stadium and did the urban planning work for the games. "It's a major regeneration of East London."

After the games, the stadium and park will remain behind. The stadium seats 80,000 for the Olympics but can be modified after to a more flexible 25,000-seat arena that can be used as a soccer pitch. And many of the venues will be gone entirely. They'll be recycled so that a ghost town of big sports venues isn't left behind. Things such as concession "pods" could be reused in other locations -- maybe even in Rio in 2016.

"Time will tell," White said. "It was conceived as something that won't be a white elephant."

As for traffic in and out of Olympic venues? "There will be some complexities," he said.

San Antonio connection?

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