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Aquatics Centre Construction Thread


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Those who got the cheapest ticket in velodrome should consider themselves lucky. I agree with them about the last row is the best seat in the house with overall view of the track. Some seats on the first row has such obscured view you are literally sitting sunken down and blocked by half the wall.

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London 2012 Aquatics Centre begins transformation


The Aquatics Centre with its 'wings', which are being removed

Three months after it hosted the heroics of Michael Phelps and Ellie Simmonds, Zaha Hadid's dramatic London 2012 Aquatics Centre has begun its transformation from the ugly duckling to the white swan of the Olympic Park.

The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) on Tuesday formally took control of the Olympic Park from the London 2012 organising committee (Locog) and started to remove the huge outer "water wings" on the sides of the £251m venue.

The last outer strip of the two boxy temporary wings, which expanded the capacity from 2,500 to 17,500 during the Games, was pulled away and between now and next spring they will be replaced by huge glass windows on Hadid's wave-like design.

The Aquatics Centre will reopen for public use a year later, when the so-called "south plaza" of the Olympic Park is thrown open again. The operator, Greenwich Leisure, has promised to peg prices to the local average and make it accessible to the community, as well as using it for elite competition.

The site of London's summer Olympic odyssey is being drained of colour before – those responsible promise – being reborn as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Where sunny concourses once thronged with giddy ticketholders, bulldozers went about their work in the grey November drizzle. And where concession stands, temporary venues and big screen live sites once stood amid wild flowers there were only endless grey expanses of concrete that looked more car park than royal park.

But as Locog handed control to the LLDC, which will spend £292m converting it to an urban park, those responsible promised it would look very different when it began to reopen in eight months' time.

"As these wings come down and the glass screens come in, what was iconic in Games time will be even more iconic in legacy. People will see it as a symbol of the transformation," said Colin Naish, executive director of infrastructure at the LLDC.

Revealing the scale of the task in readying the Olympic site for its future use, it said the initial 18-month programme would be called "Clear, Connect, Complete" in an echo of the Olympic Delivery Authority's three-phase approach to building it.

The programme will clear Games-time overlay including temporary venues, walkways and stands, connect the park to the surrounding area with new roads and pathways and complete the park's venues and parkland to their legacy designs.

Naish said it was important not to lose the momentum generated by the Games. An area in the north near the Copper Box arena will reopen on 27 July next year, exactly a year from the opening ceremony of the Games, including a road that will run through the park.

"It's very important to strike the right balance between getting this done as quickly and efficiently as possible but also getting the public in so they can feel ownership of the park. We've started our bus tours, which is the first step in that, and the Orbit will reopen next year," he said.

Locals on the regular bus tours will see the extent of the vacuum left by the removal of the temporary "overlay" put in for the Games and the scale of the job to be done in converting huge expanses of tarmac into verdant parkland.

Eventually, over a 20-year period, the park will become home to five new housing neighbourhoods and four new schools.

The LLDC promised to create at least 30 apprenticeships and said that of the 350 people working on the park, 40% were from the five local boroughs and 15% were previously unemployed. At its height, the conversion effort will employ 1,000 people.

But LLDC executives refused to give any new detail on the biggest question hanging over the park – the fate of the £429m stadium that dominates the skyline. A board meeting next month will attempt to resolve the long-running debate over whether West Ham should become anchor tenants and how to fund the £200m conversion costs required.

Already, the LLDC chief executive Dennis Hone has admitted it could be the summer of 2016 before the stadium reopens.


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