On 7 February 2014, the Sochi Winter Olympic Games will begin with an explosive opening ceremony at the Populous-designed Fisht Stadium in the Coastal Cluster. Site preparations at the Olympic Park have been dogged by claims that billions of dollars have mysteriously ‘disappeared’ during construction, stray dogs that live in the vicinity of the park are being slain to bolster security during the Games, issues of structural stability at several venues and that migrant exploitation is rife.
In this article we focus on the design of venues in the 'Coastal Cluster' that are due to host the international sporting events beginning this week.
Fisht Olympic Stadium
Designed by Populous and awarded a shortlist position in the 2010 WAN AWARDS Civic Buildings sector, the Fisht Olympic Stadium takes inspiration from its setting between the coast and nearby mountain range. A continuous lower bowl is flanked by two upper wing terraces with exposed structural elements throughout. The team at Populous has been cautious to preserve sightlines to the scenic surrounding environment while providing a modern, flexible stadium for this international event. Capacity is variable between 25,000 and 45,000 spectators to allow for the opening, closing and medal ceremonies. Populous also provided the masterplan for the competition and non-competition facilities for the Winter Olympic Games.
Bolshoy Ice Dome
Opened in 2012, the Bolshoy Ice Dome will host the ice hockey competitions during the Games in a glossy volume inspired by a frozen droplet of water. Designed by SIC Mostovik and operated by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), the Bolshoy Ice Dome is part of a wider complex that includes the Shayba Arena and a training rink. Its exterior form also references the nearby mountains and has been compared to a Faberge egg with its domed silhouette and smooth façade. This façade is comprised of shimmering aluminium composite panels in a pearl hue with inbuilt LEDs to enable illumination of the building in a multitude of shades. Alterations have been made to the interior of the building within the last year to ensure that it is capable of hosting such large visitor numbers.
Iceberg Skating Palace
This is a temporary venue whose design was overseen by Olympstroy; it is due to host the short track speed skating and figure skating events. After the Games, it can be dismantled and relocated for use in other Russian cities; it is possible for the venue to continue with its use as an ice skating arena or it may be transformed into a cycling velodrome. One of the most eye-catching venues in the Coastal Cluster, the Iceberg Skating Palace has the capacity for 12,000 spectators and cost $43.9m to construct. It takes approximately two hours to adjust the ice when alternating between figure skating and short track speed skating.
Adler Arena Skating Center
The Adler Arena is comprised of an oval-shaped facility with two competition tracks and one training track. With 8,000 seats and a track length of 400m, the Adler Arena will host speed skating events during the Winter Olympic Games and will be turned into an exhibition centre as part of the legacy programme. The façade consists of triangular stained-glass window panes which enable those watching the competitions to enjoy the scenic coastal surroundings. The architect behind the Adler Arena was Bob Johnston of Cannon Design.
Ice Cube Curling Center
Another venue capable of being dismantled and transported after the Games is the Ice Cube Curling Center, also overseen by Olympstroy. At ground floor level the façade is made of insulated glass with a mirror effect, reflecting the mountainous and coastal scenery. 30ft long and 60ft wide, the Ice Cube Curling Center includes four curling rinks on the first floor alongside a number of changing rooms, while the stands and various lounges are reserved for the second floor. The continuous curving façade speaks to the other buildings in this cluster, many of which sport similarly smooth lines.
Reports on the ground state that snow in Sochi is in short supply but the core venues are finished and snow stored since last winter is being deployed to the necessary sites. Now the construction teams can concentrate on finishing the hotels in the Mountain Cluster with allegations that several hundred rooms are still incomplete...
Details of the supporting infrastructure for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games can be found on World Infrastructure News.