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Montreal's Stadium


stevie

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Hey all,

I tried to find answers here and elsewhere, but couldn't find it. The Montreal Olympic Stadium is certainly an interesting work of architecture (it reminds me of a scifi spaceship or something like that.) At any rate, I know that it wasn't completed in time for the games, but I am curious what the tower's purpose was for the games.

Was it to be the Broadcasting House? Was the flame supposed to burn from up there?

It's a massive structure at any rate.

Thanks in advance.

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The Montreal Olympic Complex was ahead of its time.  It also lived up to its name.  It is in Montreal.  It hosted the Olympics.  And it was complex.

As mentioned, the tower's main purpose was to hold the kevlar roof - both when in use and not in use.  A total of 26 cables suspended the fabric over the stadium and then sucked it up into the tower.  The design was like an inverse umbrella and would have been the first fully retractible stadium roof...except for the fact that it wasn't built in time and it never did work right.

The Olympic pool was at the base of the tower.  The tower was also meant to have a number of gyms and training facilities.  This never materialized because of the expense of the facility and the general public disdain associated with it.  The tower was recently converted into office space.

Another purpose of the tower was less pratical...the mayor of Montreal wanted a landmark and specifically, he wanted a leaning tower.  He tried in 1967 with the World's Fair.  He tried again in 1976 with the Olympics.  He finally got it in 1987 after much debate about the future of the post-Olympic life of the complex.  A truncated version had been suggested because of a combination of costs and doubts over the leaning tower's ability to support itself, but the Taillibert version ended up the final look.

mont-03.jpg

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The Montreal Olympic Complex was ahead of its time.  It also lived up to its name.  It is in Montreal.  It hosted the Olympics.  And it was complex.

As mentioned, the tower's main purpose was to hold the kevlar roof - both when in use and not in use.  A total of 26 cables suspended the fabric over the stadium and then sucked it up into the tower.  The design was like an inverse umbrella and would have been the first fully retractible stadium roof...except for the fact that it wasn't built in time and it never did work right.

mont-03.jpg

I think that whole cable-inverse-umbrella thing finally got worked out in the Athens OAKA 'pool' for Opening Ceremonies -- with the exploding Cycladic head.*  The photo brought the Athens moment to mind -- except Athens/Morton's idea went exactly the other way of what Montreal's stadium was supposed to do.

*I'm suprised Bufferin or Tylenol has not used that image to sell their 'headache' pills.   :wwww:  

**Maybe we'll see an exploding intestine in Beijing -- with instead of rich Chinese food coming out of the intestine, we'll see the different regional costumes of China spilling out!!   :wwww:

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Montreal's planning has been debated forever but essentially there were three major problems:

1 - the design was out of this world, but far too ambitious, far too complex for a timeline that tight and a city with that much of a winter.

2 - the labourers went on strike, crippling the construction schedule.

3 - the builders were corrupt and saw big profit opportunities.

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My dad was in Montreal in '75, and he said the building was all behind like in athens and everything was rushed, so that is probaly why it never materialized. Also, is it true that montreal is still in debt from the games?

Montreal was exactly like Athens.  Both plagued by construction problems and security problems.  What happened at the Innsbruck Olympic Village forced Montreal organizers to spend heaps more on security, including calling in 10,000 personnel from the Canadian military.

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Montreal was exactly like Athens.  Both plagued by construction problems and security problems.

Security problems in Athens? Come on!

From the original bid file of 1997, Athens didn't construct 2 or 3 intersections at major highways inside the city.

There was the problem with the swimming pool roof. The government said that informed IOC and FINA that finally they won't construct it, FINA till last moment though that they will construct it and IOC said find a solution.

Also, they didn't do that Olympic monument. Everyone thinks that it would be the cauldron (the 110m height spindle), but there was no time to do it.

That's what I can think now.

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Montreal was exactly like Athens.  Both plagued by construction problems and security problems.

Security problems in Athens? Come on!

From the original bid file of 1997, Athens didn't construct 2 or 3 intersections at major highways inside the city.

There was the problem with the swimming pool roof. The government said that informed IOC and FINA that finally they won't construct it, FINA till last moment though that they will construct it and IOC said find a solution.

Also, they didn't do that Olympic monument. Everyone thinks that it would be the cauldron (the 110m height spindle), but there was no time to do it.

That's what I can think now.

Did Athens not spend over a billion dollars on security because it was the first Summer Games after 9/11?  Same thing with Montreal - spending hundreds and hundreds of millions, but because of Munich.

Construction of venues and facilities were clearly a major hurdle and like Montreal, Athens had grand plans.  The spindle cauldron, huge new permanent stadiums, ambitious roof project for Olympic Stadium and a lake inside the stadium, etc.  Many more workers had to be hired because time was of the essence.....some projects were even in construction 24/7.....and all this created ballooning construction costs.

Athens was a more modern version of Montreal.

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Athens did have security problems.  Not a breach of security,

well, hate to sound like a broken record, but there was Mr. Goldenpalaceman in his tutu who breached security at the diving venue; and of course that crazed defrocked Irish priest on the marathon course.  Luckily, only the poor Brazilian runner was sort of victimized.  But at least no one really got hurt.

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Athens did have security problems.  Not a breach of security,

well, hate to sound like a broken record, but there was Mr. Goldenpalaceman in his tutu who breached security at the diving venue; and of course that crazed defrocked Irish priest on the marathon course.  Luckily, only the poor Brazilian runner was sort of victimized.  But at least no one really got hurt.

They had so many guns and it was their one opportunity to use them.........and they lost it.  Shame.

My question is, why was ATHOC even releasing the security budget?  A security plan should include keeping the budget secret, or perhaps should even include lieing.

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I've just seen a documentary on Olympic architecture on BBC4 - they did mention that the design of Montreal's stadium was good (although it mostly concentrated on the delay).  

Their favourite Olympic designs were from the Munich Games - the stadium does look fantastic.

Their least favourite was Los Angeles - they were very bland and unimaginative structures apparently.  The "McDonalds" swimming complex was no more than two concrete concrete holes, the velodrome equally as boring.  Los Angeles applied for the Games though when there was no competition and when the Games were in danger of being scrapped so architectural excellence was not so important.

It also mentioned the "legacy" question and showed the empty venues of both Athens and Sydney - with being either locked-up and already decaying in the case of Athens or slightly too far out of town to attract many other potential events in the case of Sydney.

The plans of Beijing and London were also scrutinised - I wish i'd taped it, I stumbled upon it by accident.  It was also followed by documentary about the Moscow Olympics which was really good.

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My question is, why was ATHOC even releasing the security budget?

To scare the terrorists away.  See, they also read GamesBids and the Official Reports.  And, as I'm sure Pyrros will tell you -- it worked!

I guess for the next few rounds, just announce you have a $25 billion security budget, and that will absolutely demoralize Al-Zarkawi, Osama and friends.  How can they match that?  :shocked:  And why bother to hire guards at all?  A few perky border collies will do.    :cool:

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I've just seen a documentary on Olympic architecture on BBC4 - they did mention that the design of Montreal's stadium was good (although it mostly concentrated on the delay).  

Their favourite Olympic designs were from the Munich Games - the stadium does look fantastic.

The sad part is if 1976 had never happened, and a city were to build an exact copy of Montreal's Olympic complex and village today, it would still be considered cutting edge.

Montreal was way ahead of it's time.  I remember watching the games in 1976 and even without the tower built, the Olympic complex was still jaw dropping.  

Had the tower been done in '76, I think Montreal would be remembered for the unbelievably innovative architecture, instead of the huge debt.  As it is, after the final payment is made in June, I hope that eventually the people of Quebec start understanding that they have an architectural masterpiece in their backyard. Although I think they are brought up to hate the place.

Munich as well did indeed have a very innovative and cutting edge complex - far and away better than anything from recent Olympic memory.  And their Olympic village complex is still probably one of the best ever built.  Again, had it not been for the hostage situation, Munich's legacy would have been for the innovative architecture as well.

It's sad when you think that 7 Olympics have come and gone since Munich and Montreal and nobody has been able to rival the architectural masterpieces that they created.  Yet they are pretty much only remembered for the negatives of their respective games.

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It's sad when you think that 7 Olympics have come and gone since Munich and Montreal and nobody has been able to rival the architectural masterpieces that they created.  Yet they are pretty much only remembered for the negatives of their respective games.

True, it is a real shame - they could both have revitalized the Olympic movement but it took another ten years for cities to actually want the Olympics again.  

I think that Beijing's venues will also be viewed as classics in the future - they are amazing - but at what cost?  So many people have been forcibly displaced.

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It's sad when you think that 7 Olympics have come and gone since Munich and Montreal and nobody has been able to rival the architectural masterpieces that they created.  Yet they are pretty much only remembered for the negatives of their respective games.

True, it is a real shame - they could both have revitalized the Olympic movement but it took another ten years for cities to actually want the Olympics again.  

I think that Beijing's venues will also be viewed as classics in the future - they are amazing - but at what cost?  So many people have been forcibly displaced.

But precisely that's it.  The IOC has to be weaned away from this edifice-white elephant complex thinking that their every Olympiad must be marked by some glorious building.  If the venues are utilitarian, they're fine.  They do not have to shining pieces of architecture.  If they are, fine, but that shouldn't be the main criterion for picking a host city.

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It's sad when you think that 7 Olympics have come and gone since Munich and Montreal and nobody has been able to rival the architectural masterpieces that they created.  Yet they are pretty much only remembered for the negatives of their respective games.

True, it is a real shame - they could both have revitalized the Olympic movement but it took another ten years for cities to actually want the Olympics again.  

I think that Beijing's venues will also be viewed as classics in the future - they are amazing - but at what cost?  So many people have been forcibly displaced.

But precisely that's it.  The IOC has to be weaned away from this edifice-white elephant complex thinking that their every Olympiad must be marked by some glorious building.  If the venues are utilitarian, they're fine.  They do not have to shining pieces of architecture.  If they are, fine, but that shouldn't be the main criterion for picking a host city.

No, I agree it shouldn't be the main criteria, but I don't think any Olympics have been awarded exclusively for their architectural credentials - although they have often played a part in the decision.  With the Summer Games being so highly sought after, for the moment at least, prospective host cities will continue to need their gleaming new venues so that they appeal more to the IOC than their fellow competitors.

The IOC is still on a steep learning curve - each Olympics reveals problems that need to be resolved in subsequent Games.  Perhaps the lessons from Athens and Sydney were primarily about lasting legacies for venues; both cities have had problems finding frequent uses for some of their new buildings and in Athens case the main Olympic area already appears to be derelict only two years later - it's no surprise that the key words in a couple of the 2012 presentations were "lasting legacy".  Moscow and, to a lesser extent, Los Angeles taught the NOC's and some governments the pointlessness of an Olympic boycott - did the US led boycott of the Moscow Games have any influence on Soviet foreign policy?  No, it only went so far as to further increase hostility between the two nations and deny many talented US athletes the chance of Olympic success.  Perhaps the most obvious lessons of recent Games came from Atlanta.

All Olympic Games create different challenges from which future Games must learn.  There have been posts on this forum about which Olympic Games hosts members would change if they could – I wouldn’t change any.  If any of those Games had been staged elsewhere we would have a different Olympics today.  Even the lessons learnt from Atlanta have changed the Olympic movement for the better and without Atlanta these would not have been learnt and it would have been another city that made the mistakes much later.  The fact that it is the likes of Moscow, New York, Paris and Madrid that the IOC encourages to apply again can be seen as a direct result of Atlanta, as can the strict commercial regulations being established by London 2012.  No doubt more difficulties will arise in Beijing and London but as both those cities have benefited from the experiences of past hosts future hosts will benefit from them.

Barcelona seems to be one of the IOC’s favourite ventures – regeneration, legacy, beautiful settings, and impressive architecture – perhaps this is one of the reasons why the large cities that feel able to bid for the Games feel the need to emulate this success and promise a “grand projet” with

innovative architecture.

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But precisely that's it.  The IOC has to be weaned away from this edifice-white elephant complex thinking that their every Olympiad must be marked by some glorious building.  If the venues are utilitarian, they're fine.  They do not have to shining pieces of architecture.  If they are, fine, but that shouldn't be the main criterion for picking a host city.

But will it ever happen when the munipalities bidding are so eager to spend tax payer dollars to fund white elephants?

Case in point is Montreal this past summer when they hosted the FINA worlds.  Instead of updating the pool at Stade Olympique, where the crowds would have poured money into all of the facilities in the compound, they build a new pool and in the process almost loose FINA coming because they couldn't get enough sponsors.  

I would just love to see 2016 come down to Rome, Tokyo, Munich, Helsinki, Montreal and L.A., and all saying, "alright, we're bidding but we're using the same stadiums we have already and we're not doing any major rebuilding."  The IOC would be beside themselves!

The IOC is still on a steep learning curve - each Olympics reveals problems that need to be resolved in subsequent Games.

Indeed and that is a good thing for the most part. And I think London learned a valuable lesson from the lessons of Sydney and Athens and have done a brilliant job of coming up with a way to minimize the effects of having a slew of underused facilities after the games. I still question whether London's Olympic Stadium will be an underused facility but I think everything else will be used on a continuous basis and not become a drain on the taxpayers.  But the IOC seems to forget these lessons as time goes on.

Case in point is the lessons of Los Angeles and Atlanta.  Atlanta had it's problems, for sure.  And perhaps it was considered tacky by a large portion of the world. And yes, ACOG lost control of the concessionsand the transportation system was taxed to the limit,  all valuable lessons for future bidders. But the bottom line is that it was a financially successful games and like Los Angeles, walked away with a profit and facilities that are used constantly.

But the IOC isn't as concerned that the cities didn't become financially strapped.  Instead their focus is on the fact that L.A. used temporary facilities and the stadium in Atlanta was turned into a baseball stadium instead of sitting there as a monument to the Olympics passing through.

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