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Temporary Stadiums - How viable are they?


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It seems as though a lot of potential Summer Olympic and World Cup bids these days call for the use of a temporary stadium and by that I mean a stadium with 70-80,000 seats for the event and then scaled down into the 20-30,000 seat range. The main argument is it's a cheaper option and avoids leaving behind the dreaded white elephant. However, I question how viable such an option is.

We really haven't seen a scenario where a 70-80,000 seat stadium is scaled down to 20-30,000. London planned to do so until West Ham and Tottenham started bidding over who would get to take over the Olympic Stadium. Qatar plans for the majority of its stadiums, including the 80,000 Lusail Stadium, to be scaled down and the parts donated to countries that lack proper football infrastructure. I'll believe that when it actually happens. For the upcoming Asian Games in Incheon, the main stadium is set at 61,000 seats with plans to scale it down to 30,000 afterwards. The Incheon stadium cost 430 million U.S. dollars to build. I don't know if that includes dismantling costs or not. I think a stadium with a large number of temporary seats isn't as cheap as one might think. There's the cost of dismantling it and then deciding what to do with parts. That has to cost something especially if they're going to be reused or reassembled at a later date. I'll be curious to see if the Koreans follow through on their plans in Incheon. While not the best example, the basketball arena from the London Olympics served its purpose, although they still have yet to decide what to do with the disassembled arena. It wasn't reused for Glasgow. I suppose in the end it could end up simply being broken down at a recycling plant.

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Good thread.

I still maintain the change of direction with London's main stadium was political more than anything and happened after a change of Mayor - from a Labour administration who were willing to subsidise a smaller facility which would be more community focused, to a Tory administration who decided, more or less, to sell it off and get it off their books. To that end, we simply don't know and won't ever know how succcessful the downsized stadium would've been. I'm still not sure how I feel about this change in direction.

The basketball arena was a sensible choice. There was no reason on earth to keep two mid-sized arenas in the Olympic Park. The handball arena was the permanant one, the basketball arena temporary. In its place will be new housing rather than an unneeded second arena. I'm surprised the company which owns the structure is having quite so much difficulty in finding another use for it. But it's not London's problem as the city effectively paid for its construction then rented it.

Rio did look at London's basketball arena, but the costs of shipping it across turned out to be greater than the costs of building anew. Which makes me wonder about Qatar's plans to ship whole football stadiums to other countries! But then, it's not as though FIFA really scrutinised anything they offered is it?

Largely temporary main stadiums - still a huge question mark.

Largely temporary arenas these will become a mainstay of Olympics in the future. Rio is using so-called "nomadic" architecture for its handball area, for example.

Edited by Rob.
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I suspect the whole temporary/downscalable thing is just a sham. Assuming you have to have a 80k+ seat athletics arena, it probably makes the most sense to build one, then bulldoze the whole thing and build shopping malls. But that won't sound good, will it? So you pretend.

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Good thread.

I still maintain the change of direction with London's main stadium was political more than anything and happened after a change of Mayor - from a Labour administration who were willing to subsidise a smaller facility which would be more community focused, to a Tory administration who decided, more or less, to sell it off and get it off their books. To that end, we simply don't know and won't ever know how succcessful the downsized stadium would've been.

The basketball arena was a sensible choice. There was no reason on earth to keep two mid-sized arenas in the Olympic Park. The handball arena was the permanant one, the basketball arena temporary. In its place will be new housing rather than an unneeded second arena. I'm surprised the company which owns the structure is having quite so much difficulty in finding another use for it. But it's not London's problem as the city effectively paid for its construction then rented it.

Rio did look at London's basketball arena, but the costs of shipping it across turned out to be greater than the costs of building anew. Which makes me wonder about Qatar's plans to ship whole football stadiums to other countries! But then, it's not as though FIFA really scrutinised anything they offered is it?

Largely temporary main stadiums - still a huge question mark.

Largely temporary arenas these will become a mainstay of Olympics in the future. Rio is using so-called "nomadic" architecture for its handball area, for example.

I would of preferred keeping the Basketball Arena over the Handball Arena (Copper Box), as from an Architectural point of view, the Basketball Arena was better looking. I do agree with you on the way the Stadium has gone was politically minded. Labour Government (Who was in power when we won in 2005), was more on the side of Legacy thoughts, of Community rather than Economically minded. With no surprise whatsoever, when the Tories got in power, it was more of the point, how can we make the most money for ourselves. Hence like you said Rob, the Stadium was originally designed for the Lower Tier to stay and the Upper Steel Tier to go if needing to go. Then, with all of the dispute of who would become future tenants, West Ham, who is owned by Billionaire Businessmen, got the Tenancy of the Olympic Stadium, which in turn, turned the whole idea of the Stadium around, by converting the Lower Tier into Retractable Seating and changing the Upper Tier for more Corporate (Yes, have a think why I wrote Corporate in Bold). The Government are just going to suck all of the money out of that Olympic Stadium and pretend to care about us public, but won't. What a shame. Overall though, the Olympic Park is a huge success in my opinion. Opened up to the public, World Class Sports facilities for public use and future International Tournaments. Nice green spaces, chill out areas, great improved transport links and a boost to the Economy. I went into the Velodrome the other day to watch some Cycling Lessons and it didn't cost me a penny, which is a positive. Of course, in reality, alot of the facilities in the Park will cost money, for example, Swimming in the Aquatics Centre and watching World Class Tournaments.

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Good subject, stryker. But apparently, the matter is a work in progress. There have been examples of smaller components being recycled elsewhere. For example, the warm-up pool (which I imagine must've been an aluminum one) installed for LA 1984 Swimming/Diving for LA on the USC campus, was cut up and sent to some smaller city in either Arizona or Texas. I forget now.

The idea of temporary stadia I think works only if they have factored and locked in its disposal and recipient of post-first-use. As has been shown by the 2012 Basketball arena, that altruistic plan came to naught. As for Qatar; well they have the money to pay for transport after 2022. But I also bet those stadia will go to poorer muslim countries in the area (like Yemen) or in Africa. They're not donating those to 'no heathen countries.'

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I was always surprised the Basketball Arena didn't get shipped north to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games. Sochi originally planned for the figure skating arena to be turned into a velodrome while the curling and secondary ice hockey arenas were to be dismantled and sent elsewhere in Russia. All those plans have been thrown by the wayside. As for the stadium issue, it will be worth watching to see what happens after the Asian Games with the Asiad Main Stadium. Initially it was set to have 75,000 seats and scaled down to 30,000 post Games. Revised plans reduced the initial capacity to 60,000. I wonder if perhaps they figured removing 45,000 seats was too costly. If the Koreans can make it work I think you'll see more bid cities proposing the idea of stadiums with large numbers of temporary seats. If it doesn't work or the removal is too costly and there's nothing to be done with the dismantled seats, I think you'll see a lot of bidders cool to the idea. Ideally, I think both the IOC and the host city would prefer a permanent stadium with a regular tenant after the Olympics, but that's obviously easier said than done. Interesting stuff about the London Olympic Stadium. I didn't realize all the politics that played into it.

For some cities, I think a permanent stadium is the way to go. In another thread I mentioned Toronto with point that any future Toronto Olympic bid, at least right now, rests on whether or not the NFL decides to relocate an NFL team to the city. No NFL team and I don't think Toronto builds a 70-80,000 seat stadium with no permanent tenant, or at least one that would fill the seats, especially since Canada went through this mess once before with Montreal.

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I would of preferred keeping the Basketball Arena over the Handball Arena (Copper Box), as from an Architectural point of view, the Basketball Arena was better looking. I do agree with you on the way the Stadium has gone was politically minded. Labour Government (Who was in power when we won in 2005), was more on the side of Legacy thoughts, of Community rather than Economically minded. With no surprise whatsoever, when the Tories got in power, it was more of the point, how can we make the most money for ourselves. Hence like you said Rob, the Stadium was originally designed for the Lower Tier to stay and the Upper Steel Tier to go if needing to go. Then, with all of the dispute of who would become future tenants, West Ham, who is owned by Billionaire Businessmen, got the Tenancy of the Olympic Stadium, which in turn, turned the whole idea of the Stadium around, by converting the Lower Tier into Retractable Seating and changing the Upper Tier for more Corporate (Yes, have a think why I wrote Corporate in Bold). The Government are just going to suck all of the money out of that Olympic Stadium and pretend to care about us public, but won't. What a shame. Overall though, the Olympic Park is a huge success in my opinion. Opened up to the public, World Class Sports facilities for public use and future International Tournaments. Nice green spaces, chill out areas, great improved transport links and a boost to the Economy. I went into the Velodrome the other day to watch some Cycling Lessons and it didn't cost me a penny, which is a positive. Of course, in reality, alot of the facilities in the Park will cost money, for example, Swimming in the Aquatics Centre and watching World Class Tournaments.

I kinda do not buy in to the whole "The Tory Party Ruined the Stadium" BS. The main reason London planned to scale it down, was because that side of twon had no post game need of an 80,000 seat stadium. So to turn it into something smaller made sense, but if West Ham is planning on using it to it's full capacity, and Stratford will get use out of it then it's still an Olympic Success.

I have a feeling that the London Stadium would have been a failure if West Ham did not buy it, not to mention it creates a stronger reason for people to visit and live in that area. The Tory's were smart to get it out of government hands and put into use, I would rather see London have a strong and very positive legacy then that dreaded Olympic Stadium which almost always turns into the biggest White Elephant.

Temporary Stadiums do not work. However temporary seating is something that I see as viable, along with the temporary arenas that are generally constructed (Horse Guards Parade or the Aquatics Center). Cities should stick to building a few permanent venues with the option of small downsizing available and the rest being temporary arenas and such.

If I see a city propose to build a 'temporary' 80,000 seat stadium i wish them luck in their endeavor, their going to need it!

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At least taxpayers and some environmentalists can get a sigh of relief. Talk about Atlanta's centennial olympic stadium (102,000 seats), later degraded to the Present-day Turner field (Est. 66,000 seats), all without zoning newer land that no longer exists, and re-planting those long gone areas

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I have no idea where you're getting those capacities. At the most turner field was 85,000 in Olympics configuration, and today it's less than 50,000.

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