WilkinsonEyre assures Rio's Olympic legacy

Nick Myall
Wednesday 10 Aug 2016

WilkinsonEyre’s Arenas Cariocas in Rio de Janeiro has been unveiled

With the Olympic Games in full swing the Arenas Cariocas, the largest venue at the Rio Olympics in Brazil has now been unveiled. Designed by WilkinsonEyre, it is the largest venue within the Olympic Park and will significantly contribute to the legacy of the 2016 Olympic Games. Formed as three arenas under one roof, the 400m long structure provides seating for 36,000 spectators and will host various Olympic competitions including basketball, judo, wrestling, taekwondo and fencing and, in Paralympic Games mode, wheelchair basketball, rugby and boccia. 

The building is made up of three related sculptural forms which run parallel to the main Olympic Walk through the heart of the Olympic Park. Sam Wright, Associate Director at WilkinsonEyre said: ‘We designed the Arenas Cariocas in Rio with functionality and adaptability in mind. 

Much like our final design for the Basketball Arena at the 2012 London Olympics Games, the challenge was to create a temporary building that would be both simple to erect and sustainable in terms of its legacy. This is a transitional building that can morph after the Games into a different typology with zero impact on the fabric of the built form. Aesthetically, the Arenas Cariocas differs from our other stadium designs in that we were asked to deliver three arenas in one footprint. From the outside, one can glimpse the singular form housing the three venues, operating simultaneously and yet from within, the spectator will be fully immersed in the drama of the individual sport.’ 

Built on Rio de Janeiro’s old Formula One circuit, the Arenas Cariocas will become an Elite Athlete Training Centre after the Games, leaving behind a defining legacy. 

The reconfigured building will provide the necessary infrastructure for the training and development of top athletes and will allow Rio de Janeiro to continue hosting important international sports events for many years to come. WilkinsonEyre’s design of the Arenas Cariocas is part of the international design competition for the masterplan of the Rio 2016 Olympic Park, which was won with AECOM. WilkinsonEyre developed the concept for the arenas and took the project through to detailed design. In spring 2013 the project was handed over to the Rio Mais consortium to be delivered by local architect Arqhos Consultoria e Projetos.

Nick Myall

News editor

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