by Bonnie Alter, London
The spotlight turned on East London for the second weekend in the London Festival of Architecture. That's where the London 2012 Olympics will be held, as will the last 6km of the London Olympic Marathon. In keeping with the East London theme, there was a tour of the Olympic site and the new developments.
The Olympics are being held in Stratford--a derelict part of the east end of London. It was chosen so that the new buildings and infrastructure will give the area a real boost into the 21st century in terms of social and physical renewal.
Stratford, nothing to do with Shakespeare, has long been a miserable and polluted part of town with a history of dirty industry that has gone bad. So bad that 80% of the soil in the Olympic area was removed, washed with chemicals and then replaced. Even the fish in the canal running through the area were removed and replaced with new ones.
Transport was a key part of the winning of the Olympic bid. Organisers have to bring 280,000 people a day to the area. The new trains from St. Pancras will take 7 minutes to get them there--if it works. The London Tubes presently are not known for their reliability. Supposedly, there will be no private parking spaces, everyone will have to come by public transport. Critics have questioned whether this will be the case with special lane closures for athletes and VIP's and 3000 BMW's on call.
The buildings are rising out of the ground, almost perfectly on time for the great event. The stadium is the most prominent. It will have a capacity of 80,000 during the Games: 25,000 permanent seats will remain afterwards. Designed by Populous and HOK, the light innovative design has a canvas roof covering two thirds of it. It is possible to dismantle it after the Games. On the ground and below the stadium will be 700 changing rooms and facilities for the athletes. Food will be served from temporary pods beside the building... read more story at TreeHugger.com