Posts tagged with "Winter Olympics":

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Calgary votes not to host 2026 Winter Olympics, only two cities remain

The world is running out of cities that are willing to host the Olympics. Last night, residents of Calgary, Canada, voted no on a special plebiscite to host the 2026 Winter Games, making them the fifth city to drop out as a potential candidate. Stockholm, Sweden, and a joint bid between Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo remain the only two finalists, but even their futures are on the rocks. Though Calgary hosted a successful 1988 Winter games, and 11 of the sports venues built for the event still stand, over half the voters rejected the idea to bring the Games back, citing the huge financial risk as something the city wouldn’t be able to recover from. To host the two-week-long event, Calgary, Alberta, and the federal government would have spent an estimated $5.1 billion combined, according to The Globe and Mail. While the city wouldn’t have had to start completely from scratch by building all new architecture, two additional arenas and the athlete’s village would have needed to be built on top of the retrofits and infrastructure upgrades done for the games. Despite support from Mayor Naheed Nenshi and a strong campaign by the Calgary 2026 Bid Corporation, which saw the Games as an opportunity to “put the city back on the map,” the message was clear: 56 percent of voters opposed the project. Critics say Calgary can now use the budget money it would have invested in the Olympics to take on new, much-needed public projects similar to the dazzling new Central Library, designed by Snøhetta, which opened last week. Though yesterday’s vote was non-binding, the mayor and local city officials say they’ll respect their constituents’ decision and officially suspend Calgary’s Olympic bid at a council meeting on Monday. Finding a solid host site is proving more challenging for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) year after year. Out of the seven countries that submitted bids for 2026, Sion, Switzerland, Sapporo, Japan, and Graz, Austria all withdrew earlier this year. The IOC eliminated Eruzum, Turkey, from the list in October due to its lack of experience hosting large-scale sporting events. Stockholm's plan for the games puts some sporting venues two hours outside the city—a potential cause for IOC concern, and its incoming government coalition is determined to get rid of taxpayer funding for the events. Italy’s joint bid for Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo was just finalized this month after Turin, the 2006 Olympic host city, dropped out of the effort. The Italian government supports the decision but says it won't offer a single euro to help.  The IOC is set to make its final decision for 2026 in June.
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Chipperfield’s Nobel Center and 2026 Olympic bid cancelled by Stockholm

The shutdown of the Foster + Partners–designed “town square”–style Apple store in Stockholm by the new City Council was only the beginning. Now, the city won’t appeal a decision on May 22 by Sweden’s Land and Environment Court to halt construction of the $132 million Nobel Center, effectively dooming the David Chipperfield Architects–designed complex. Stockholm’s bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics has also been halted, leaving only Calgary and a joint bid between Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo remaining on the shortlist. The shift is the direct result of the new center-right coalition established in the City Council between the right-leaning Alliance group and the Green Party following an election on September 9 that left the council without a majority group in power. The new power-sharing agreement was only realized in mid-October owing to the more than eight active major parties in Sweden's national politics. The coalition was predicated on two major deals: blocking the Winter Olympics bid and stopping the Nobel Center. This isn’t the first time that Chipperfield’s Nobel Center has faced pushback from the city government, and a revised, more contextual design was presented back in 2016. Opponents have argued that the Center, formed from two stacked boxes wrapped in vertical bronze louvers, would destroy the cultural and historic fabric of Stockholm’s Blasieholmen peninsula. The Blasieholmen extends into the Klara Sjö canal, and the Center would have oriented its double-height presentation out toward the waterfront to provide a permanent home for all future Nobel Prize award ceremonies. Despite the smaller footprint and a tighter circulation plan, the court ruling in May dinged the proposal for the building’s size, out-of-context color, and sensitive location. Now that the City Council has pledged to let the ruling stand, the Nobel Foundation is crying foul. “For the past seven years, we have acted in accordance with our agreements,” Foundation executive director Lars Heikensten told the Architects’ Journal. “We interpret today’s announcement as meaning that the Alliance, in co-operation with the Green Party, is trying to diverge from signed agreements. “A project of major, long-term significance for Stockholm as a city of science and a center for lively discussion in the spirit of Alfred Nobel is thus at risk of being sacrificed to short-term political interests.” David Chipperfield Architects released their own statement, saying that, “The project for the Nobel Centre has been developed over the last five years through a process of continuous dialogue between the client team, planners and the city authority. We are, therefore, extremely disappointed by this announcement.” If Stockholm’s city government ultimately decides not to challenge the lower court’s ruling, the Nobel Foundation will need to go back to the drawing board and choose an alternate location for the Center.
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South Korea’s disposable Olympic stadium has no roof or heating

As the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea dazzles with massive drone displays and American triple axels, spectators in the main Olympic stadium have been left out in the cold. The $109 million, pentagonal stadium has 35,000 seats but no roof or heating elements, and will only be used four times before being torn down. The decision to build a low-cost arena designed for planned obsolescence isn’t a crazy idea. With the total cost of the games approaching nearly $13 billion, keeping a 35,000-seat stadium running when PyeongChang County only has 40,000 residents was prohibitively expensive. Even the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has warned that Olympic venues can be become “white elephants” after the games end, as they historically have within other hosting cities. Although the South Korean government had hoped the Olympics would turn the snowy and mountainous PyeongChang into a winter sports destination for tourists, enthusiasm within the country for winter sports has been particularly muted. Because no viable alternatives were proposed, PyeongChang Olympic Stadium was designed to be disposable and will only host the opening and closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics and the Paralympic Games before being demolished. Cutting costs by leaving out a roof might have worked during the Summer Olympics, but at half a mile above sea level, PyeongChang is one of Korea’s coldest areas, and this year’s lows are breaking records. Polycarbonate walls were installed at the stadium’s top levels to shield spectators from the wind, but guests were given blankets, heating pads, and raincoats to keep warm and gas heaters were installed between the aisles. Seven people were repeatedly treated for frostbite after an hour-long opening event in November, where temperatures hovered around 12 degrees Fahrenheit, though they had risen to the low 20’s by the time of the opening ceremony proper. Disposable, temporary, and even movable stadiums have been in demand lately, as cities around the world grapple with the challenges (and costs) of repurposing single-use venues once an event ends. Qatar recently unveiled their Ras Abu Aboud Stadium, which uses removable shipping containers as building blocks so that the arena can be moved after the World Cup. The 2018 Winter Olympics closing ceremony will take place on February 25, 2018, while the Winter Paralympics will run from March 8 until March 18.
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Asif Khan pavilion brings a slice of outer space to the 2018 Winter Olympics

As excitement around the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea builds for the February 9th opening ceremony, London-based architecture firm Asif Khan Ltd. has revealed a pitch-black pavilion sponsored by Hyundai Motor. Coated in Vantablack VBx2, the world’s blackest black paint, the exterior of the parabolic pavilion is lit with thousands of point lights and resembles a field of floating stars. “From a distance the structure has the appearance of a window looking into the depths of outer space,” said Asif Khan in a press release. “As you approach it, this impression grows to fill your entire field of view. So on entering the building, it feels as though you are being absorbed into a cloud of blackness.” Vantablack’s impenetrable darkness is based in its structure, as the paint is made of tangled carbon nanotubes that trap light on a microscopic level. At 32 feet tall and 114 feet long on all four sides, the monolithic Hyundai Pavilion is the largest continuous nanostructure in history. It also represents the first architectural application of Vantablack. While the original iteration of Vantablack paint was so fragile that it could only be installed under laboratory conditions, VBx2 suspends the coating in a spray solution and can be directly applied. The resultant structure, though the walls are curved inwards, has been seemingly rendered as a flat void and stripped of its volume; inside the effect couldn’t be more different. Playing on the theme of hydrogen, in reference to Hyundai’s foray into fuel cell-powered vehicles, the interior of the pavilion is a stark white and anchored by an interactive water installation. As visitors walk around the interior, water drops are elongated as they flow through channels carved into the floor and pool at a central drain. “The water installation visitors discover inside is brightly lit in white. As your eyes adjust, you feel for a moment that the tiny water drops are at the scale of the stars,” said Khan. “A water droplet is a size every visitor is familiar with. In the project I wanted to move from the scale of the cosmos to the scale of water droplets in a few steps. The droplets contain the same hydrogen from the beginning of the universe as the stars.” The usage of Vantablack has been a contentious topic in the short five years it’s been around. While Anish Kapoor made headlines after claiming the exclusive rights to the pigment’s use, Asif Khan has been working closely with the researchers behind Vantablack since 2013 and has previously proposed using it for a variety of projects. The Hyundai Pavilion will open to the public alongside the Olympics on February 9, in Pyeongchang.
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NYC 2014: What if New York hosted the Super Bowl of winter sports?

As the Sochi Olympics commence amongst a slew of issues ranging in severity, the New York Times has imagined what the games might look like in a more local context. Perhaps inspired by the weather of late, these renderings imagine what particular locations throughout New York City might look like playing host to a variety of events. The typically circular speedskating track has been unfurled into a 16,400 foot angled sprint from Madison to Battery Park. The ramps of the ski jump stretch out across Bryant Park to loom over the Public Library. A track for bobsled, luge, and skeleton races snakes through Times Square, curving amongst the billboards before a final straightaway past the Lion King. Downhill requires perhaps the most monumental intervention, with Central Park hosting a 2.2 mile long mountain twice the height of the Empire State Building standing 20 blocks to the south. The replica of the course from the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center is slightly larger than the most recent snow-covered artificial mound to grace Manhattan. Head over to the Times for more.