When Populous first considered the bid for London, we were aware from the start of the city’s existing infrastructure. With facilities such as Wembley, the O2 and Wimbledon already a key part of London’s cultural fabric, we recognised that there was a limited need for new permanent structures – maximising the temporary was crucial. Where permanent structures are to be erected, they’re designed to be flexible.
Over the next decade, the UK will be hosting three major World sporting events. The award of these major sports competitions depended upon the delivery of a compelling and comprehensive bid strategy, centred on a well-coordinated, and technically competent, bid book.
These bids were all underpinned by high quality event overlay designs, whereby initial block planning of key spaces and adjacencies in and around existing and temporary stadia demonstrated an effective technical operation. This did not win the bid alone, but was, however, a huge ‘tick in the box’ and gave each selection committee the confidence that the competition will be in a safe pair of hands.
The Olympic and Paralympic bids for London proposed large scale urban regeneration, using the Games as a catalyst for change in deprived and underused areas of the city. The lasting legacy of the Games for London is evident in the creation of a new Royal park which unites four urban boroughs and will benefit thousands. Barcelona also used the power of the Games to transform a dilapidated area of seafront to huge effect, placing the City firmly on the tourism map as a must see destination.
The programme for planning the bid for London was tight, which placed even more emphasis on the accurate setting out of venues and associated back and front of house spaces for all selected venues on the Olympic Park site in Stratford.
The Populous bid overlay team were inextricably linked to the spatial planning of the sports venues within the park and subsequent establishment of appropriate legacy uses that will ensure that there are no white elephants left behind when the Games moves on to Rio at the end of September in 2012.