Posts tagged with "Olympics":

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London's Olympic Village To Become Urban Housing Project

The London 2012 Games may have ended over 10 months ago, but even without the 17,000 athletes that lived on the premises, the Olympic Village is still brimming with commotion. Construction has begun onsite to refurbish the still-nearly-new structures into a residential housing system, Get Living London, in a new neighborhood called East Village. The site's new owners, the sovereign wealth fund Qatari Diar and British property developer Delancey paid $870 million for the Village and development land close by, according to The National. Since the global financial recession in 2007 and exacerbated by a housing shortage, London residents have been struggling to adequately affordable and quality housing. Get Living London presents renting as a suitable option instead of buying a home. The Olympic Delivery Authority is eliminating temporary structures to supply shared dining facilities. As part of the refurbished East Village housing complex, 2,818 new kitchens will be installed and the site will include an education campus, a health center, and restaurants. Local housing association, Triathlon Homes, will offer 1,379 apartments to house low-income Londoners, and the remaining flats will be rented out on the open market.
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BLOOM, The Olympic Design-Build Game

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BLOOM

A 100 percent PET plastic garden grows in London

If you were fortunate enough to visit the London Olympics this summer and happened to walk through Victoria Park or the main quad at University College London (UCL) on your way to the games, then you experienced BLOOM, a big, bright, architectural garden created by complete strangers who gathered over the course of the two weeks to piece together 60,000 plastic game pieces, all dyed official Olympic hot pink. Designed by Alisa Andrasek and Jose Sanchez, two architecture professors from UCL's Bartlett School of Architecture, BLOOM was selected by the Greater London Authority for a series of events and installations mounted in two locations during the games with a third location in Trafalgar Square to follow for the upcoming Paralympics. Andrasek and Sanchez had been developing the idea for an open-ended, crowdsourced game that would encourage interaction between people in a large public space when the opportunity to be involved with the Olympics arose. The timing was perfect. Here was a moment in the city's history when locals and tourists alike would be in the same location to celebrate athletics, and Andrasek and Sanchez hoped to capitalize on that spirit of camaraderie. The game starts with the pink game pieces, called cells. Each 16 inch-long cell is made of 100% PET plastic and has three points of entry, or notches used to connect the pieces together. Once Andrasek and Sanchez created a design for the cells, they were injection molded at Atomplast, a Chilean plastics fabricator that Andrasek and Sanchez had worked with previously. The cells are flexible, durable and can be bent and twisted into different configurations without warping or breaking. There were also several structural steel components on hand for using with the cells to build benches, tables, forts and other larger formations. BLOOM Andrasek and Sanchez began the game by building the first structure themselves, which completely disappeared by the end of the Olympics as people took turns adding onto it and taking pieces away. "Some people really like building whilst others enjoy the act of destroying what someone else did. For us this is mainly the collection and release of energy," the designers wrote in an email. Though BLOOM doesn't have any hard and fast rules, the basic guidelines for building were posted on large banners and two BLOOM team members were on hand to answer questions and teach people how to create larger formations. "As much as we provided help, most of the interesting stuff that people built came out of a group of people taking some time to learn how the system behaves just by playing." Andrasek and Sanchez also had fun playing with BLOOM and testing out different kinds of structures. "We have built maybe five different versions of structures between Victoria Park and UCL, and each time it's different as we keep developing skills of how to do it better,” they wrote. “We reached 3.5 meters in height, but it could go higher as long as we keep on reinforcing the structure. On the other hand, there's a risk with taller structures that can collapse at any time. This did occur several times but the cells are only 200 grams so it’s quite harmless and such an event becomes a motivation to start the game again." BLOOM The BLOOM team brought out 2,000 new pieces each day to facilitate the game and encourage people to build bigger and higher. "The energy for BLOOM is sourced from people's interactions. None of the pieces can do anything on their own. Only by putting together thousands of them is when the game and the BLOOM garden emerge. The final piece is a collective act of imagination, search and play." The games are on hold for now, but will begin again soon for the Paralympics, which runs from August 28 - October 9, 2012. After that the pieces can either be collected and used to start another game elsewhere or they can be sent back to Atomplast to be recycled into something new.
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Lasvit's Olympic Installation

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Infitiny, by Lasvit

The London Czech House brims over with gold, silver, bronze - and now crystal

So far the Czech Republic's Olympic athletes have won a smattering of medals at the Summer games, but this year all the country's athletes, medal winners or not, will be rewarded for their efforts with a crystal trophy courtesy of Lasvit, the official crystal partner of the Czech Olympic team and the country's leading manufacturer of custom light and glass installations. The crystal trophies will also be doled out to VIPs visiting the Czech House, which is playing host to a series of events meant to promote Czech culture during the games. Inside, Lasvit is presenting the finer side of Czech culture with their Hydrogene Crystal Bar, an illuminated bar in the VIP section, as well as Infinity, a sculptural glass lighting installation suspended in the public mezzanine. Like most of Lasvit's high-end custom jobs, Infinity was designed by Jitka Kamencova Skuhrava, whose long list of projects for the company include several hotels and event spaces in Abu Dhabi, dozens more in China as well as two teal-colored cascades for Tiffany & Co. Her preference for natural forms shows up again and again, in the swirling glass shapes that weave through the air like frenzied schools of fish or the leaf-like forms that twist into a loose interpretation of the figure eight symbol. Infinity, by Lasvit For Infinity, Skuhrava started with 3D renderings of the interior of the Czech House in London to determine what form, size, and lighting schematic would work best for the space. Once she finalized her design and made samples to test it out, the labor-intensive job of hand blowing the individual pieces of glass began. Though Skuhrava comes from a family with a long tradition of making stained glass and is skilled in glass blowing, etching, engraving and all aspects of glass craft, the installations she designs are much too large to make on her own. Still, she oversees all aspects of the fabrication and regularly works with a local Czech glassworks, instructing their craftspeople as to how she wants the pieces made for each project. Lasvit's Infinity For Infinity, Skuhrava used 1,600 9-inch leaves of hand blown glass, each etched with fine, linear grooves. The leaves are woven together with a "special wire system" Skuhrava is hesitant to expand on, saying only that it's "delicate, almost invisible, but safe." Once the leaves are strung together they're attached to a perspex structure in 15 pieces along with the LED system. Infiinity was tested out and preinstalled in the Czech Republic before being shipped to London, where Skuhrava and with five others installed it over two days, from July 21-22, just before the Olympics began. In total, Infinity stretches 21 feet by six and a half feet with a height of five and half feet and weighs in at 2,200 pounds. Though Infinity is quite striking on its own, the Czech House is packed with so much evidence of its culture that the installation is dwarfed by a cluster of large projection screens and is left floating off to the side, looking beautiful, but lost.
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Playable Pavilion Aims to Make Beatboxing an Olympic Sport

Coca-Cola has big plans for an Olympic Park pavilion for London's 2012 sporting extravaganza. London-based architects Pernilla & Asif have created the "Coca-Cola Beatbox," a spiraling structure clad in red and white panels that appear to be suspended in frozen animation. It's not only an intriguing structure but an interactive musical instrument. The experimental architecture works with cutting edge sound technology, encouraging people to interact and "play the pavilion." Inspired by sounds of the Olympic games—the plunge of an archer's arrow into a target, athlete's quickened heartbeats, squeaking sneakers—the Beatbox will be imbedded with sound-bites created by Grammy Award-winning producer Mark Ronson that  allow visitors to remix their own mashed-up productions. Parnilla & Asif have designed a floating, divergent panel system that encapsulates a spiral ramp, leading visitors to the roof for a panoramic view of the Olympic Park. Sound and light reflect off of the panels, creating a sensory and aural experience that may be difficult to discern from renderings, but Coca-Cola is sure that its impact will be felt: “With the eyes of over four billion people on London next year, we want to use our long-standing association with the Olympic Movement to shine a spotlight on Britain’s brightest stars and inspire young people to pursue their passions."
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Quick Clicks> Vertical Farming, Hadid in Paris, Stirling Shortlist, Bored to Death

Farming Right Side Up. Spiegel Online reported on vertical farming research in South Korea as an innovative means of remedying food shortages on an increasingly urban planet. For the time being, agricultural scientist Choi Kyu Hong conducts his own version of Dickson Despommier’s Manhattan urban gardening project in an unexceptional 3-story industrial building, but Hong and his team have outfitted the farm with solar panels, LED lighting, and recycled water infrastructure hoping to attract enough attention to bring vertical farming to the global market and city skyscrapers. Hadid Stands Still. After touring New York, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, the Chanel Mobile Art Pavilion designed by Zaha Hadid claims its permanent home in the front plaza of the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, France. A Daily Dose of Architecture noted that the pavilion now features the Zaha Hadid Une Architecture exhibition, creating a thematically coherent viewing experience inside and out. Stirling Search. Bustler posted the Royal Institute of British Architects' (RIBA) shortlist for this year’s £20,000 ($32.5K) RIBA Stirling Prize. The list includes previous prize winners Zaha Hadid and David Chipperfield, as well as O’Donnell + Tuomey, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Bennetts Associates Architects and Hopkins Architects Partnership for the 2012 London Olympic Park. Bored to Death. After tunneling through the subterranean rock of Midtown Manhattan for the new Grand Central Terminal train station, the 200-ton serpentine drill will be left to decompose 14 stories underneath Park Avenue. The New York Times revealed that the Spanish contractor in charge of the 4-year excavation ensured the MTA that this internment is both practically and economically preferable to dismantling the drill. Going to the Chapel. Curbed posted the two winners of a pop-up chapel competition celebrating gay marriage in New York. ICRAVE's entry calls for a pavilion of colorful ribbons while Z-A Studios design forms recycled cardboard into a curving tulip. Both designs will built in Central Park this weekend where they will host 24 weddings.
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"Alps In Asia" named hub for  2018 Winter Olympics

If you haven’t heard by now, Pyeongchang, the mountainous South Korean town located in Gangwon Province, 112 miles outside of Seoul, has won the bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics. Helping secure the win was the $1.4 billion dollar, 1,240-acre Alpensia Resort, which was completed in 2009. It will become home to the Olympic Village, several competitions and the opening and closing ceremonies. Nicknamed “Alps in Asia”, the alpine-style village was designed as an all-season, year-round destination with the help of Cuningham Group Architecture, whose LA office oversaw the design and master planning. While not exclusively built for the Winter Games, Alpensia boasts Olympic-grade facilities, including, ski jumping, biathlon, and cross-country skiing venues. Other amenities include five-star hotels, private residences, golf courses, a water park, and convention and concert centers. “From the start, Alpensia was conceived as an international resort and recreation destination,” said Cuningham Group Principal Jim Scheidel AIA, LEED AP, who supervised the design. At the heart of the village is a retail and entertainment pedestrian promenade. Adjacent to it is a factory outlet shopping street, one of the first of its kind in Korea. For Olympic-bound travelers, a new high-speed rail link from Seoul’s international airport to Pyeonchang is scheduled to open ahead of the Games and will zip visitors to the slopes in about an hour.
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QUICK CLICKS> Bike Lite, Convenient Cities, London Smog, Choco-design

Safer at night. Two design students at Carnegie Mellon University created a functional and graceful lighting system for bikers that enhances side visibility at night.  The LED lights that line the wheel rims, are powered by pedaling and change colors depending on speed. Bloggers at Greater Greater Washington have posted a video of the lights in action. Convenient Cities. What makes a city "convenient"? According to a study published by The Street, factors include walkability, public transportation, and amenity proximity.  Their city ranking, using data from Walk Score, Zillow and APTA, put Boston, New York, Denver, Portland, and Chicago at the top. Olympic Pollution. A documentary by filmmaker Faisal Abdu'Allah, Double Pendulum, examines the harmful effects of pollution on East London residents and athletes, The Guardian says. Abdu'Allah cautions that poor air quality in East London may threaten athletes' performances in the London 2012 Olympic Games. Designer Chocolates. PSFK reports that researchers in a joint program between the University of Exeter, the University of Brunel, and Delam, a software developer, have created a printer that turns 3D CAD designs into ready-made chocolates. An upcoming retail site will allow the public to upload original designs.
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Quick Clicks> Gondolas, Landmarks, Main Streets, Paris

Shifting Skyline. London's famed skyline may be getting an addition, and it's not a new building. The Architect's Journal tells us that Mayor Boris Johnson recently approved a plan by architects Wilkinson Eyre and Expedition Engineering for a proposed cable car system designed to link two key 2012 Olympic venues, the O2 Stadium and the Excel Exhibition Hall. NYC's Youngest Landmark. The New York Times City Room blog reports that NYC has four new landmarks: the Engineer's Club, the Neighborhood Playhouse, Greyston Gatehouse and the Japan Society, which having been completed in 1971, makes it the youngest of the city's historic landmarked structures. Red Hook North. Meanwhile NYT Magazine reports that Red Hook developer Greg O’Connell hopes to do for tiny Mt. Morris, NY what he did for a slice of once-decrepit Brooklyn waterfront. Will the former NYPD detective's progressive form of gentrification and downtown revitalization work in an ailing upstate town? Onion domes in Paris. Inhabitat shares the news that the Russians are coming to Paris, in the form of a new domed church and cultural center. Situated near the Eiffel Tower, this new structure is the result of bi-national collaboration from the architects at Arch-Group and Sade Sa.  
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Quick Clicks> Drawing, Green, Aerial, Plans

Block by Block. Brooklyn-based illustrator James Gulliver Hancock is attempting to draw All the Buildings in New York in quite beautiful pen and ink sketches like the one above. Watch a video of the artist explaining his inspirations, style, and how a chained up wheelchair is architecture after the jump. (via Gothamist.) Leeders. Blair Kamin discusses the competitive race to build green among major cities today. Chicago is still number one for the most LEED-certified buildings, but the self-proclaimed "greenest city in America" faces some stiff competition. Aerial. Building Design is running a new series of aerial photos showing progress at the 2012 Olympics site in London. 12,000 workers are reportedly on site working on the main stadium, aquatics center, and arena. Master Plan. Now that South Sudan's national independence has been approved, Sudan Votes reports that the government has revealed a model of a planned new capital city to replace the chaotic regional capital Juba, but not everyone is happy with the move.  (via Planetizen.)
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An Olympic Conundrum for Chicago

We've been following Chicago's Olympic bid rather closely of late, and not only because we're on the way to inaugurating a Midwest edition of the paper. First, there was SOM's intriguing proposal to create "sustainable," "low-impact" Olympics that would have few legacy costs by using temporary facilities, an approach the IOC apparently favored. Then there was the impact of that plan, which still called for the demolition of some buildings—as well as hundreds of trees in Washington Park—most notably at the Walter Gropius-designed Michael Reese hospital campus. Outcry from preservationists led the city to delay demolition, which made time for the preservationists to develop alternative plans. Olympic opponents may be catching another break now, as, ironically enough, the very things the IOC purportedly liked about Chicago's bid-lite may also be its undoing. The IOC released its evaluation report today, which outlines the strengths and weaknesses of of each city's bid a month in advance of the final selection. In addition to Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, and Madrid are vying for the games. Reports indicate the South American city could be the favorite, while Chicago's proposal was called "ambitious," which sounds like damning praise, with the Tribune doing a good job of highlighting the curious position the IOC has laid out:
A risk highlighted for Chicago's bid, the planned use of many temporary venues, reflects an IOC desire to have its cake and eat it, too. Based on the 2003 report of a Games study commission, the IOC espouses the idea of not wanting host cities to build expensive, permanent venues that will become underused, costly-to-maintain white elephants. Yet it also is thrilled when a city like Beijing goes overboard to do just that. In its detailed evaluation of the Chicago bid's response to the 17 themes assessed, the report praises the city's concept for being ``in line with the IOC Games Study Commission recommendation to `build a new venue only if there is a legacy need...''' In the same sentence, the report says that means a greater burden on the Olympic organizing committee (OCOG) to pay for and deliver that part of the project, as opposed to cities that build permanent structures and do not assign their cost and development to the Games operations (OCOG) budget. In its summary of the Chicago bid, the report says there is increased risk in Chicago due to an ``emphasis on major temporary or scaled-down venues.'' That includes the Olympic Stadium, which would be a temporary, 80,000-seat structure. Chicago bid officials have insisted their venue plan not only is financially responsible but could be a model for future Olympic host cities.
Clearly, cost is a concern, especially in these economically challenging times. Still, the ambivalence the IOC has for what exactly it wants is amusing, if not downright frustrating. That is, of course, unless you're a preservationist wanting nothing to do with the current Olympic bid. Oh, and guess what else is a concern? The weather, of course. Or, as only the FT could put it, "meteo­rological shortcomings." (h/t ArchNewsNow)
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Last Gasp for Gropius?

The demolition of the Michael Reese hospital campus in Chicago, partially designed by Walter Gropius, has been put on hold until after October 2, when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will announce the host city for the 2016 Games. Preservation groups are pushing for adaptive reuse of some of the buildings, but the city is determined to clear the site for either an Olympic Village or for private development. The delay, then, probably does not signal a victory for preservationists. It is more likely a calculated move on the part of the city and Chicago 2016 to quiet opposition until after the IOC makes its decision. (Community Media Workshop via Blair Kamin.)