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.