Beyond 2012 - an integrated Design Story

A built environment story

“The main challenge on all our projects was to create efficient structures; to design on an immense scale while delivering the creative architectural vision.”

Momentum Structural Engineers

Tell us about the early design brief

The brief we were given by our many clients on the Olympic Park was to provide a creative solution that was efficient, exemplary in its sustainability and visually arresting.

What inspired your design concept?

The design concepts we delivered came from a wide range of places. For example, the design for the Waterpolo Arena was developed with contractor ES Global to find a way of taking a sustainable, off-the-shelf rental structure and adding in enough detail, such as the gentle undulations in the roof, to make something bespoke. Every element of the structure was designed to be functional as well as aesthetic. It was an exciting process.

We designed the wayfinding signs in collaboration with Surface Architects as modern monoliths, in response to images we had of science-fiction structures. The concept evolved from a dialogue between this creative idea and practicalities like buildability, foundations and budget – and we wanted to create something witty, something iconic at the same time.

Recycling’s the way forward

  • After London 2012, embracing LOCOG’s one planet living wholeheartedly, we employed a company to make the wayfinding signs into bags. We developed our bag design ideas with company called Intension who made mock ups for us. A few weeks later 40 bags arrived and they are now being worn around the country by many of our clients and colleagues: if you see one, follow it – it is intended for wayfinding, so you never know where it might take you!

What challenges did you face along the way?

We apply design thinking to all our projects and we create bespoke, unusual and distinctive engineering to problems. We like challenging projects – and there were lots in our overlay work.
The main challenge on all our projects was to create efficient structures; to design on an immense scale while delivering the creative architectural vision.

How did it feel to be involved in such an important British project?

Our small company delivered 27 overlay projects, and we loved every bit of the work. It was demanding, fast paced and extremely interesting.


Company name
Momentum Structural Engineers

The engineering of numerous overlay projects – 27 in total – from the large scale, such as engineering the Royal Artillery Barracks and the Waterpolo venue, to sponsor showcases, such as the Coca-Cola Beatbox, through to public realm installations and broadcast structures.


Project team

Abigail Matthews

In collaboration with:
Surface Architects, ES Global

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