When the gates opened to the 2012 London Olympic Park 16 months ago, throngs of spectators filed past Zaha Hadid Architects' Aquatics Centre, gazing skywards at its swooping form and extravagant winged stands. The venue had been splashed across newspapers, blogs and social media sites in the months prior to the event with high praise for the elegant design and potential to be transformed for public use post-Games.
This week the first tenants moved into the former Athletes Village at the renamed Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and in spring 2014, Zaha Hadid Architects’ Aquatics Centre will be opened for public use. A team led by Balfour Beatty is working to transform the Olympic venue by removing the pair of 42m-high temporary stands that flank the sweeping roof.
All arenas across the park had to meet stiff criteria to gain approval, with emphasis on recycling and reuse of materials for temporary venues. This is no mean feat when you consider the sheer scale of these seating stands but fortunately they have found a welcome new home across the Atlantic at Gulfstream Racecourse in Miami.
Scafform Event Services is currently in the process of dismantling the demountable terracing which will be reassembled as a permanent system in Miami. Glazed elevations will then be applied to the remaining bulk of the Aquatics Centre ready for the reopening in next spring.“The Gulfstream Racecourse is currently undergoing a major redevelopment which will include the addition of two new sections of grandstand seating,” commented Edward McCarthy of Scafform Event Services. “The demountable all-steel structure from the Aquatic Centre will prove ideal as a permanent grandstand at the Miami course.”