London 2012 Olympics stadium by HOK Sport


Architects HOK Sport have unveiled their design for the stadium for the London 2012 Olympics.

The stadium, at Stratford in east London, will seat 80,000 during the games.

After the games, the 55,000 demountable seats will be removed, leaving a 25,000 capacity athletics stadium.

The following is a press release from the Olympic Delivery Authority:



Innovative design unveiled as ODA plan to start construction on stadium site early

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) today unveiled the design for the Olympic Stadium, the flagship venue for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The ODA also plan to start the construction of the venue ahead of schedule.

The unique 80,000 seat stadium will be the centre-piece for the 2012 Games hosting the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the athletics events, converting down to a 25,000 seat permanent stadium after the Games when it will become a new home for athletics, combined with other sporting, community and educational uses.

An Olympic Stadium with such a large demountable element has never been attempted before and the design represents the start of a new era for Olympic Stadium design – more use of temporary elements combining the high-level performance needed for a major sports event alongside the long-term needs of the community.

The main features of the design are:

  • Bowl - a sunken bowl built into the ground for the field of play and lower permanent seating, designed to bring spectators close to the action;
  • Seats – 25,000 permanent, 55,000 demountable;
  • Roof - a cable supported roof will stretch 28 metres the whole way around the Stadium, providing cover for two thirds of spectators;
  • Wrap – a fabric curtain will wrap around the stadium structure, acting as additional protection and shelter for spectators;
  • Pods – facilities such as catering and merchandising will be grouped into self-contained ‘pod’ structures, adding to the spectator experience around the access level of the Stadium.

ODA Chairman John Armitt said:

“London’s Olympic Stadium is designed to be different. ‘Team Stadium’ have done a fantastic job against a challenging brief - their innovative, ground-breaking design will ensure that the Olympic Stadium will not only be a fantastic arena for a summer of sport in 2012 but also ensure a sustainable legacy for the community who will live around it.

“The rapid progress we are making in clearing and cleaning the site means that we are now planning to start construction of the stadium on site next year two to three months early.

“This is great news and a tribute to the hard work of all involved. The stadium is also on budget, as announced to the London Assembly last month.

“Together with the opening of St. Pancras yesterday, from where high speed Javelin trains will carry thousands of spectators to the Olympic Park in 2012, the project is very much on track. “

Chair of the London 2012 Organising Committee Seb Coe said:

“We talk a lot about milestones, but few will be more exciting than this, the unveiling of the Olympic Stadium, which will be the centre piece of our Olympic Park. The stadium will stand for everything we talked about in the bid: it will be inspiring, innovative and sustainable – the theatre within which the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games will be played out and leaving behind top class sporting and community facilities after the Games.

“We genuinely believe that this creates a new blueprint for building Olympic stadia – one which integrates Games time requirements with a long term legacy vision.”

Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell said:

“The designs unveiled today are stunning – a truly imaginative and original concept.

“But this is only part of the story. We will ensure that the Olympic Stadium leaves a lasting legacy for London and the UK - a flexible venue with athletics at its heart, but also capable of multi-sport, educational and community use.

“This is the strength of London 2012 – the fusion of planning for Games time and legacy from the outset, which will ensure that the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be a force for good for generations to come.”

Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said:

“This cutting edge design really shows how London's Olympic Stadium will be a stunning backdrop to the London Games and become one of the most famous buildings in the world for a summer in 2012 and beyond, making Londoners and the whole United Kingdom proud. It will also act as a beacon symbolising the extraordinary transformation and regeneration of east London as a result of staging the 2012 Games and the permanent legacy of new sports and community facilities for London.”

Chairman of the British Olympic Association, Colin Moynihan, said:

"I am delighted with the stadium plans we are unveiling today. The design concept for the Olympic stadium has all along taken in to account the needs of the athletes who will be competing in London. To achieve an end-product which encompasses quality and convenience for our athletes together with a 25,000 seater stadium in legacy is essential."

Senior Principal architect from HOK Sport, Rod Sheard said:

“The design is a response to the challenge of creating the temporary and the permanent at the same time - that is the essence of the design for the stadium. A new era of Olympic Stadium design will be launched in 2012, demonstrating how a successful event can be blended with the long term needs of a community.”

President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Lamine Diack, said:

“London’s successful bid for the 2012 Games had legacy at its heart, and in particular, the need to provide sustainable venues and projects, as part of a vision of the city’s future development. The sport of Athletics, whose rules and heritage owe so much to Great Britain, has been in desperate need for a world class competition facility in London, to showcase the sport in the UK, especially for international events such as the annual IAAF Super Grand Prix.

“The stadium plans which have been unveiled today guarantee long term benefits to Londoners and the future of international athletics competition within the city. The imaginative design to construct a permanent 25,000 seat sporting facility allowing for a dismountable top section which increases the capacity to 80,000 during the Games, fits the legacy aspirations for both the facility and athletics. A stadium which can be downsized for community sports use, as well as elite events, means a long term practical future for the most important 2012 Olympic facility and has the full support of the IAAF.”

UK Athletics Chief Executive, Niels de Vos, said:

“This superb stadium will be the centrepiece of what I'm sure will be a great Games. UK Athletics have been involved in each stage of the design and we are confident the stadium will provide a fitting venue for athletics at the London Olympics.

“We are pleased with the legacy commitment to athletics and the decision to retain the warm up track as a permanent feature adjacent to the smaller legacy stadium which will therefore be able to stage prestige athletics events for decades to come as the home of Athletics in the UK. We will continue to work closely with the ODA to build on the foundations outlined today to ensure a fantastic legacy for athletics beyond 2012 and are delighted that London will at long last have an athletics facility of the scale and capacity it deserves.”

Chief Executive of the London Development Agency (LDA), Manny Lewis, said:

“The stadium’s innovative design will deliver a first class facility after the Games. We are planning and delivering legacy now and this is one of the cornerstones of a new thriving area in London.

“We want this to be a living stadium that is accessible for sporting, educational and community use. New businesses and jobs connected to the stadium will boost the local economy to help ensure sustainable benefits after 2012.”

Paul Finch, chair of the joint CABE / Design for London 2012 design review panel, said:

“CABE and Design for London welcome both the strategy and the tactics for the Main Stadium design which is a fascinating proposition both for the Games and Legacy, and has the makings of an elegant piece of architecture and engineering. We support the principle of a temporary Olympic stadium and encourage the design team to exploit and express the exciting design possibilities presented by the temporary nature of the structure and the wrap. It is essential that the area around the stadium is carefully designed to ensure that an appropriately Olympic setting is created.”

The ODA is working with the Team Stadium consortium to design and build the venue. The consortium is led by building contractors Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd and includes renowned sports and design architecture team HOK Sport, and international engineering team Buro Happold. Previous projects include the Arsenal Stadium and the Telstra Stadium in Sydney, the main stadium for the Sydney Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2000.

Strong progress has been made in preparing the stadium site since the land was handed to the ODA in July. 28 out of 33 buildings have been demolished. Ground levels vary across the Stadium site and some parts will have to be lowered by 9metres while others areas need to be raised by 5metres. Over the next few months around 600,000 tonnes of soil will be taken away from the site to help create the construction platform for stadium – the equivalent weight of around 27 aircraft carriers or 37 submarines.

The ODA has announced that the stadium will be delivered for a budget of £496m, including inflation and VAT, in line with the budget announced by the Government in March.

Two temporary bridges have been installed on the stadium area, which is largely an island site surrounded by waterways. These construction bridges will play a key role in minimising disruption to local residents by reducing the number of lorries on public roads and bridges.


Posted by Rose Etherington

Posted on Wednesday November 7th 2007 at 12:52 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • fvale

    ok..if it suits you…

  • So the stadium is going to demountable. This is certainly ambitious and might just mark a change in stadium design in general. Presumably there is scope for turning it back into an 80,000 seat stadium in the distant future when and if it becomes necessary.

    Approaching from the bridges will surely be spectacular

  • rmm

    wake me up before you go-go…

  • j929

    What happened to the old design they used to get the bid? I know its got to be cheap and interchangeable… but this is so boring!

  • Tim

    How can something this expensive look so cheap?

    other than that, I don’t quite believe in the reuse of the structure on a different site. And in fact after the games they’ll end up with a 25.000 seated, plain ugly, open-air stadium that is virtually impossible to use on a regular basis.

    Maybe the 500 million (which apparently includes neither the services – like toilets etc – nor the demounting of the stadium) could have been put to a better use for the design of a really iconic building that is actually sustainable…

  • Gallinacio

    I have to agree with j929. How come its been developed into this boring plain stadium? We’re one of the wealthiest countries in the world and all we get for the olympics is this?

    China have ‘The Nest’ which is an amazing design (at a cost of around £200million) and ours just looks boring with a bit of scaffolding on top of it.

    What happened to the previous design which I think was done by FOA? that looked spectacular and would have been iconic for the games.

  • leo

    it’s look like a 60’s stadium… super boring…

  • Dantestraw

    You never actually write anything about these projects, just cut and paste the press release. Why don’t you write something new?

  • Still fascinating to me how lovely these things look while sitting in the Goodyear blimp. Pity most of us won’t see it from that vantage point.

  • roadkill

    i tell you what… the politicians and organizers overinflated what GB would achieve with the games… making bold statements that mistakes in Athens and other places would not be repeated and these would be the greatest games ever… in my country there’s a say ” by the mouth dies the fish” i think this is just the tip of the huge white elephant… forget about the roof and the greenest games ever… this has proved quite intertaining.

  • Yeah, it definitely looks like a stadium, I’ll give em that.

    Or a gas depot…

  • tommi

    a sad design…

  • The 55,000 seats are to be ripped out when arsenal play millwall.

  • John

    I think this stadium is pretty brilliant. It’s great to go to design blogs and read the reviews, and check out public blogs and hear the reviews. Two totally different perspectives, indeed. I would suggest going to the 2012 post, watch the video, and read others perceptions. You know, like from the people who are actually getting it. Not the ones sitting in a cafe in NY and Boston.

    “China have ‘The Nest’ which is an amazing design (at a cost of around £200million) and ours just looks boring with a bit of scaffolding on top of it.”

    –My comment to this would be how many workers are going to die from building that thing. Or even better, how many are even getting paid to build it, period.

  • Gallinacio

    I took your advice and watched the Video. Very nice, but it only puts a pretty image on a simple design.
    Most have seen the previous designs for the stadium when we did the bid for the olympics, that was amazing.

    And i’m not saying that the Olympics won’t be a great experience for everyone, but i think that being one of the wealthiest countries in the world we should be able to create something special for the greatest sporting event there is.

    “how many workers are going to die from building that thing. Or even better, how many are getting paid to build it, period.”

    -This is a pointless comment. probably none are going to die. And anyway we’re not building ours in China we’re building it in England! So no-one will die and everyone will get paid!

    Oh, and i’m not sitting in a cafe in Ny or Boston. I work for an architectural company in London and i live near the site, period.

  • Will

    Does anyone know what the olympic statium will be used for after the games have finished? no -one wants to be left with another useless structure like the millenium dome!

  • jake

    Plain and simple. Its ok

  • Unknown

    same what will said

  • Dave

    well.. what happened to the amazing design posted in the Sun newspaper that everyone agreed looked amazing over breakfast that morning? this is the total opposite, in fact it looks like theve gone out of the way to make it as boring looking as possible, couldnt think of anything they could subtract apart from the pictures ! oh and apparantly the seats which is a relief to all of us.

  • laura skeeters

    Where are they going to do with those 55,000 seats left?
    Is not like they can loan them out or return to vendor.

  • john

    it’s so 40’s

  • Exelente solucion y un manejo delicioso de la imagen

  • olivas1591

    Yes, may not be extraordinary design, but one of the main focuses was legacy… and that is why they're making a removable portion of the stadium. Most, if not all, previous "huge and amazing" stadiums for Olympics are always abandoned and never filled up again after the summer of the Games. The legacy design is to avoid that problem.
    Will -West Ham is going to be the host club after the Games

  • Dee

    Could this be because of the many officials and red tape that they had to clear? As a result the original design couldn't be executed? I'm just guessing because being in the design field and working with the state/govmt in my country, they always like to have a say in it and in the end the outcome is far from what one proposed originally. It's the usual "too many cooks spoil the broth". And in it's wake, design that is so-so and a few disgruntled designers.