Beyond 2012 - an integrated Design Story

Basketball Arena
A built environment design story

“The Basketball Arena is the largest single temporary structure ever created in Olympic history.”

Mark Smith
Head of Projects/Director

Tell us about the early design brief

The brief was to pattern and fabricate the membrane facade and roof – all 20,000 square meters of it – and install it on site with the highest quality of workmanship, ready to showcase London 2012 to the world.

What challenges did you face along the way?

The Basketball Arena is the largest single temporary structure ever created in Olympic history. While the majority of the structural steel scheme design had been completed, Base’ expertise was called on to refine the fabric design detail to ensure that the vision could realistically be built within the constraints of the site, timescale and available budget.

What about specific design challenges?

A great deal of time and effort went into ‘designing out’ installation issues on the factory floor. The facade was made up of a series of three basic 6m X 25m panels and three reverses of these placed in a random pattern around the facade, resulting in 70 panels in total. Our manufacturing department and installation team worked closely together to create no less than five full scale prototypes of the facade panels, each refined a little more than the last, ensuring that they would be able to progress and install the entire facade without having to tension each individual panel on site. In total we installed 20,000m2 of fabric for the Basketball Arena alone, including 13 roof panels weighing ¾ tonne each and 70 facade panels – all in just 90 days.


Company name
Base Structures Ltd

Basketball Arena


Project team

Mark Smith
Head of Projects/Director

Jon Morris
Head of Production/Director

Andy Traynor
Head of Installation/Director

Andy Chiverton
Commercial Project Manager

Russell George
Project Manager

Francis Buchanan
Project Manager

Jenna Mitchell
Design Manager

Duncan Baird
Installations Manager

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