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Aquatics Centre Construction Thread


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So yes, we have a compromise, partly because of finances, partly because of initial mistakes in planning before London won, but mostly because of a want not to be left with a huge venue which will never be filled post-2012. The temporary wings are certainly not ideal, nor are they particularly beautiful, but I'm not going to be pushed into saying I think the venue is terrible because of them.

I don't even mind temporary wings, and it's not even the aesthetics as much as it is the quality of the experience for all spectators, something which Beijing, and as I've said, even Atlanta, succeeded better in doing. And just as a side note, at least half or more of the seats in the Water Cube have been removed, it no longer seats the same capacity that it did during the Beijing games. Low roofs with extreme tunnel vision sight lines a la Sydney and London will never make sense to me and it boggles the mind why anyone would do it that way, or would choose a design that would necessitate doing it that way. To me, it's NEVER acceptable.

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I am happy to utterly disagree with your opinion, whilst also finding it rather ridiculous. :D

I can sort of see where he's coming from though, though I wouldn't agree.

Internally, all the venues are stunning. I don't think there's one I don't like from the inside shots we've seen.

Externally: well, the stadium desperately needs its wrap, the handball arena is a little utilitarian (it was never meant to be an architectural marvel though it is a clever design), and the Aquatics Centre is obviously compromised by its wings. The rest, with the exception of the stunning velodrome, are temporary so aren't going to be stunners.

I wouldn't call any of them dull or bland but most don't really have the beauty of artfulness particularly of Athens' set of venues. I think eclectic is the best word for what we've ended up with. The Park itself though, I'd agree Lee, it's going to be the jewel in the crown for 2012.

I'm looking forward to seeing the lighting though and how it's all joined together with the parkland and the Games decorations. It was mentioed a while ago (can't remember where) that each venue would have its own signature 'colour'. I could imagine that working very well, and bringing a lot of life to the exterior of some of these arenas.

Edited by RobH
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One last thing. I totally share your concerns about the roof of the Aquatic centre but I am reserving judgement on it until I get to hear feedback from those that have been into the venue and experienced the view.

I still beleive that the worst decision made during the whole organisation of these games was when they put those awful wings on that venue. The Orbit monstrosity comes a close 2nd but I have softened my opinion somewhat now I can see it being built. It's just a shame that we couldn't have had a public vote on the art that we wanted to see in the Olympic Park. I would have loved something similar to the angel of the north in Gateshed. It's really strange as I love the work of Anish Kapoor, just not this.

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I personally think the Aquatics Centre and all venues in general are bland, uninspired, and rather dull. The Aquatics Centre is ugly and not very practical with such a roof structure. There had to be other ways to have a reasonable venue still look good without building the next Water Cube.

As rafa once wrote, don't hire a starchitech and then bastardize the design as a cost-cutting measure and that is what London did. The design is flawed and does not fit for an Aquatics Centre. If it had been a sports hall for gymnastics or handball or something of the sort the roof structure would have worked. But as a venue for diving and swimming it is a dud.

OK, 20/20 hindsight. The next Aquatic Center built from scratch should be based on the Parthenon so that the friggin roof can be raised and lowered using the columns!! B) Brilliant idea!!

Plus, finally put copies of the Elgin Marbles in the pediments!!

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I don't even mind temporary wings, and it's not even the aesthetics as much as it is the quality of the experience for all spectators, something which Beijing, and as I've said, even Atlanta, succeeded better in doing. And just as a side note, at least half or more of the seats in the Water Cube have been removed, it no longer seats the same capacity that it did during the Beijing games. Low roofs with extreme tunnel vision sight lines a la Sydney and London will never make sense to me and it boggles the mind why anyone would do it that way, or would choose a design that would necessitate doing it that way. To me, it's NEVER acceptable.

I'm really tracking with you, One Time. The wave-shape roof is beautiful. The facility is stunning, but the ticket prices are too high and the Olympics are too much of a special occasion to force so many spectators to deal with compromised views -- particularly in a sport like swimming that is less spectator-friendly in person than on tv.

I had the top tier tickets in Athens and I mostly just saw a lot of splashing. If I hadn't been able to read the scoreboard, I'm not totally sure I would have been able to tell who was in which lane.

Unfortunately, I think sometimes plans take on a life of their own. They started with this gorgeous Zaha Hadid plan. Then budget reality set in, but they didn't want to scrap the plan completely. So they downsized. Then it occurred to them, "What about the spectators?!" It just wasn't well thought out.

They probably would have been better off with a more boring building with better sightlines. It's awfully tough to say no to a beautiful rendering once you've seen it, though. They tried to have their cake and eat it too. It will work splendidly for the long term legacy, but I think it will be disappointing during the Games -- at least it will if you've just paid hundreds of pounds for a seat way up in the upper reaches with an obstructed view...

P.S. "Top tier" in Athens meaning best quality -- not oxygen reaches. Even with the highest priced seats, it wasn't easy for me to follow the action in person.

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Okay, I'll wander into the minefield.

Sadly, even in a country that fancies its swimming prowess like Oz, 10,000 plus seats for an aquatic centre is pretty hard to fill or justify at any time outside an Olympic Games. It might be a blue riband games event and one of the most popular ticket sellers in those two weeks, but otherwise not a sport that regularly pulls huge crowds on a regular basis. Which is why Sydney also had to compromise and do something similar to London with its aquatic centre. It's probably been one of the most successful venues legacies of 2000 for us, but for the games itself we had to construct and ugly temporary seating annex, which we nick-named the video cassette because of the way it poked out and clashed with the rest of the building (unfortunately I can't hunt up a pic of the centre in games mode), to accommodate what was always going to be some of the hottest in-demand tickets for the games themselves. I only attended one session in there at games time (and it was diving rather than swimming), but similarly it was a steeply banked mass on seats in a narrow enclosed space which I really wouldn't have wanted to pay money for to get nosebleed section seats. Not ideal, but, hey, better than have Aussies wining because otherwise there'd be f*ck-all seats for the event they most hold dear at a games.

Now I think London and Sydney are both in very similar boats here - we both wanted an aquatic centre that would be a real community asset in the long term, but had to compromise to help them fill a temporary two-week only demand for seats. Neither of ours probably looked at their best at games time but the success of the games don't depend on how pleasing to the eye the outer facades of the buildings are. And, of course this is eye of the beholder here, but I think both have or will end up as real jewel assets in the years after the games.

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Well the last couple of pages were interesting - not!

I'm not so convinced either it's absolutely fit for purpose post games either - yes, obviously 17,500 seats isn't sustainable, but is 2,500 enough for European and World Champs. Should London win the games will they be yet another city where the fairly new aquatics centre down the road just gets a bit of synchronised swimming whilst a temporary pool is built elsewhere?

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It doesn't matter, Sydney and London are/were two of the worst Olympic Aquatics venues for spectators. Water Cube rocked. I'd even rather have a temporary open air covered venue like in Atlanta than this. And Seth, the other side is just as big and the media doesn't take up ALL that space.

Actually, the media really does take up all that space . . . you can see from Beijing that the only thing left on the media stands were VIP and sponsor blocks, which are usually set closest to the media to avoid large gaps showing on TV incase a large group doesn't show.

Screenshot2011-07-29at65435PM.png

Screenshot2011-07-29at65343PM.png

If it makes you feel any better, I toured the Rio diving venue today, and it doesn't even have a roof to be blinded by!

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Actually, the media really does take up all that space . . . you can see from Beijing that the only thing left on the media stands were VIP and sponsor blocks, which are usually set closest to the media to avoid large gaps showing on TV incase a large group doesn't show.

If it makes you feel any better, I toured the Rio diving venue today, and it doesn't even have a roof to be blinded by!

Okay Fair enough. Beijing still offered a better spectator experience than London will. That hasn't changed. You weren't sitting under an oppressive sloping roof, forcing you to always be looking down.

Yeah, Maria Lenk has no roof. I believe FINA requires swimming at the Olympics and World Champs to be covered now though, but not the rest. In Shanghai last week, diving was outdoors too.

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P.S. "Top tier" in Athens meaning best quality -- not oxygen reaches. Even with the highest priced seats, it wasn't easy for me to follow the action in person.

If you don't know swimming very well, I can see that it might be hard to follow. You have to understand which way the lanes are numbered, and how the swimmers are seeded in the lanes, and how to keep track of which lanes are which (hint: the lane lines are colored, and there are other markers).

but I think both have or will end up as real jewel assets in the years after the games.

Agreed with this about London, I've always maintained it's success after the games.

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If you don't know swimming very well, I can see that it might be hard to follow. You have to understand which way the lanes are numbered, and how the swimmers are seeded in the lanes, and how to keep track of which lanes are which (hint: the lane lines are colored, and there are other markers).

I'm familiar w/ lane numbering and assignments. It was more as the athletes were taking their places on the blocks -- too far away to see who they were. Plus I was on the end rather than the side :( , but I did sit next to Michael Phelps' then girlfriend. A couple hundredths margin of victory doesn't translate well from a distance. Basically I was relying totally on the scoreboard and announcer to figure out what had happened. From here on out, I think I'll watch swimming on tv.

Fencing is another story though..... so cool in person!

Regarding London's legacy, I think they've done a brilliant job of trying to think it through. No, everything's not perfect, but it's going to be so much better than any previous Games. Of course the British people (and obnoxious media) will demand this. Congrats on the legacy, LOCOG. Too bad about some of those seats at the Aquatic Center, though....

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Really, I think swimming is just one of those sports that's easier and better to watch on the TV anyway. Even in Atlanta, where I was spoilt (I had seats five or six rows from the front, centre of pool) yes, it was thrilling because it WAS the olympics, but it was still not as easy to follow as on the screen where you get multiple camera angles of the pool, overhead shots of the field, and close-up and underwater shots of the leaders, the thrill of watching the leaders chase the world record line in the final lap and a race call to keep you in track of the race.

I suppose it all comes down to how much is it worth to be there to experience the atmosphere and thrill of being there in person. And, yes, in Sydney I didn't think it would be worth forking out big dollars if I was going to be confined to a nosebleed seat staring down a vertical tunnel at a distant pool. On the other hand, though, if you're an Olympics nut and never experienced an Olympic swimmings finals live before, it probably IS worth it just for the experience at least once.

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Well for those that may be unfamiliar:

Lanes are always numbered 1-8, or 0-9 (for Worlds and Olympics) from right to left on the end that the swimmers are starting from.

Swimmers are always seeded in the lanes thus:

Lanes: RIGHT 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 LEFT

Seeds: RIGHT 0 7 5 3 1 2 4 6 8 0 LEFT

Lanes 4 and 5 are marked by three yellow lane lines.

Lanes 3 and 6 are marked by yellow and blue lines.

Lanes 2 and 7 are marked by blue lines

Lanes 1 and 8 are marked by blue and green lines

There is usually a red mark on the lane lines 15 meters from the end walls. This marks the limit that swimmers may kick underwater. If you kick past this you are DQ'd.

At 5 meters from each end are the backstroke flags.

The false start rope is at 15 meters from the starting end.

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For every Olympics, I can only watch about 4 Swimming finals because by then...who can tell who's underwater and is outsplashing whom? (Well, except for the little overlay graphics...but that's cheating!!) :lol: And it's just so fvcking quick anyway. So like...I'm glad I didn't waste 4 years of my life just dashing up and down that pool. (I swim because I like the exercise, not because I fancy myself an Olympic champ...and after 12 laps anyway, I'm already bored -- so I'm done by then.) And I don't give a rat's ass what that "one with too much Chlorine-in-the-brain" here says 'cuz I've stopped reading his posts anyway. :P

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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^^^

I think somebody likes speedos..... ;)

Huh??? I'm a registered member of USMS and swim with a local masters team.

For every Olympics, I can only watch about 4 Swimming finals because by then...who can tell who's underwater and is outsplashing whom? (Well, except for the little overlay graphics...but that's cheating!!) :lol: And it's just so fvcking quick anyway. So like...I'm glad I didn't waste 4 years of my life just dashing up and down that pool. (I swim because I like the exercise, not because I fancy myself an Olympic champ...and after 12 laps anyway, I'm already bored -- so I'm done by then.) And I don't give a rat's ass what that Aqua-person here says 'cuz I've stopped reading his posts anyway. :P

How much of your life did you waste not doing any exercise? I mean, you're still fat....would love to get a look at your technique, and btw, how's your 'fly? :rolleyes:

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Actually, the media really does take up all that space . . . you can see from Beijing that the only thing left on the media stands were VIP and sponsor blocks, which are usually set closest to the media to avoid large gaps showing on TV incase a large group doesn't show.

Screenshot2011-07-29at65435PM.png

Screenshot2011-07-29at65343PM.png

If it makes you feel any better, I toured the Rio diving venue today, and it doesn't even have a roof to be blinded by!

God, those pics only highlight how ugly Londons Aquatic Centre is.

So as well as the seats at the back where you can't see the high boards I guess as is usual those at the further half of the pool will remain empty too.

Okay Fair enough. Beijing still offered a better spectator experience than London will. That hasn't changed. You weren't sitting under an oppressive sloping roof, forcing you to always be looking down.

Yeah, Maria Lenk has no roof. I believe FINA requires swimming at the Olympics and World Champs to be covered now though, but not the rest. In Shanghai last week, diving was outdoors too.

Things may have changed in the last couple of years, but I'm sure Rome was outdoors back in 2009. I don't see any reason for FINA to confine it to indoors.

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God, those pics only highlight how ugly Londons Aquatic Centre is.

So as well as the seats at the back where you can't see the high boards I guess as is usual those at the further half of the pool will remain empty too.

Things may have changed in the last couple of years, but I'm sure Rome was outdoors back in 2009. I don't see any reason for FINA to confine it to indoors.

Rome *was* outdoors, and it was supposed to be the last one *uncovered*. You could still be outdoors. Barcelona was a last minute replacement for 2013 so they are going to be uncovered again too, I believe, but there shouldn't be any more.

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Barcelona was a last minute replacement for 2013 so they are going to be uncovered again too, I believe, but there shouldn't be any more.

No, they will install a temporary pool at the Palau Sant Jordi, like in 2003, for swimming and synchro.

1285614669307.jpg

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No, they will install a temporary pool at the Palau Sant Jordi, like in 2003, for swimming and synchro.

1285614669307.jpg

I'm not sure if this kind of 'stadium' arena type seating is suitable for an aquatics venue. In shanghai and the last fina championship where they converted the rod laver arena in melbourne into a pool. Yes you have an all-around atmosphere surrounding the pool, but it does feel quite shallow and the crowd are scattered all around.

Whereas the 2 grandstands on each side of Londons aquatics focus the energy of the crowd to both sides of the pool, which add more drama and intensity to the venue.

What do you think is the ideal seating layout for an Olympic pool venue?

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I'm not sure if this kind of 'stadium' arena type seating is suitable for an aquatics venue. In shanghai and the last fina championship where they converted the rod laver arena in melbourne into a pool. Yes you have an all-around atmosphere surrounding the pool, but it does feel quite shallow and the crowd are scattered all around.

Whereas the 2 grandstands on each side of Londons aquatics focus the energy of the crowd to both sides of the pool, which add more drama and intensity to the venue.

What do you think is the ideal seating layout for an Olympic pool venue?

I agree with you kevzz. Just finished watching FINA Worlds and I didn't care for the temp pool in the cavernous sports arena. The Water Cube was huge but MADE For swimming.

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