Tell us about the early design brief
The Olympic Delivery Authority brief for the 12,000 seat venue was ideal in that it included detailed requirements for individual sporting events, seating numbers and spectator comfort standards, but didn’t dictate overall forms or specific configurations, leaving the design team free to explore a range of solutions.
What inspired your design concept?
Our main aim was to create a compact, intimate and accessible temporary bowl with great viewing standards and atmosphere, where spectators could engage with the events and feel as though they were in a safe, permanent venue.
Did you know…
- The basketball arena took on many pseudonyms throughout the Games – our favourite was ‘The Marshmallow Pillow’!
What design challenges did you face along the way?
The primary challenge was pushing the limitations of modular temporary seating systems and components to create a ‘bowl in the round’ and create usable spaces beneath the temporary support structure and facilitate an easy transition from Olympics to Paralympics seating mode. We worked hard with both the design team and the selected supplier’s technical team to achieve our preferred solution.
How did it feel to be involved in such an important British project?
We felt very proud to be associated with the success of the London 2012 Olympics, and delighted that the venue was so well received by the media and the public. We were able to see the arena in action during the Games and it was a great feeling to see spectators enjoying themselves and commenting on how it felt like a permanent venue.
As a secondary temporary venue currently in the process of being demounted, our work will leave no lasting legacy and the site on which it was built will be redeveloped as part of the Queen Elizabeth II Park. In our opinion, this is entirely appropriate and how it should be for large multi-sport events in the future.
What are you most proud of regarding your work?
We are very proud that we were part of a team which designed the largest temporary indoor arena ever built for the Olympics, pushed the boundaries of what is possible in temporary venues, and created a clever, thoughtful, sustainable solution which provided many people with many lasting memories.