Posts tagged with "Winter Olympics":

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.

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.

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.