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NON-TRADITIONAL STRUCTURES


THE ARENA


KSS architectural design team believe that the Olympic Park’s Basketball Arena, built in time and on budget for the Lon- don 2012 Games, will provide an excellent benchmark. According to Sam Wright, head of the


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Wilkinson Eyre part of the design team, what may have helped the team win the competition to design the arena in the first place was the fact that they offered four basic options for a temporary sports venue: a portable frame, a dome struc- ture, a cable net structure and a table top structure. “After our appointment, the SKM/


KSS/Wilkinson Eyre design team worked closely with the London 2012 Organis- ing Committee (LOCOG) and the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) to whittle the options down. It was basically a process of elimination, which got us to the most efficient and pragmatic design that best suited an arena that would only be in use for a six week period,” he says. .


SEATING ARRANGEMENTS According to Wright, the whole arena had to be designed around the main function of the building – the seating bowl. Designed by sports architects KSS,


Issue 4 2011 © cybertrek 2011


BASKETBALL


Karen Maxwell talks to Wilkinson Eyre’s Sam Wright about the design principles and reusable options of one of the largest-ever temporary venues built for any Olympic Games


here’s currently no British Standard for a temporary sports arena. However, the joint SKM Engineers/Wilkinson Eyre and


the challenge was to build a temporary 12,000-seat arena, while allowing for a significant transformation in terms of Olympic to Paralympic configuration. Designing a seating bowl is a com-


plex process when sight lines need to be International Olympic Committee (IOC)-compliant. Wright explains. “The arena will host the basketball preliminary rounds and the handball final as well as wheelchair rugby and wheelchair basket- ball and each of these fields of play have very specific setting out requirements. Once a functional seating bowl was de- vised, then it was our job to co-ordinate with KSS and dovetail everything around the bowl.” The key issue with the design of the structure, according to Wright, is that


Six of the world’s top teams competed in the test event at the Basketball Arena


everything that went up would have to come down. “A permanent structure is typically made from concrete and in- cludes terraces and seats. This material has an inherent fire property and allows for ground floor accommodation un- derneath the seats for changing rooms, plant rooms, storage and catering. It also allows for spectators to enter the struc- ture through an upper level. “Conversely, scaffolding was used for


the seating bowl structure of this tempo- rary arena. You can’t fit much around a 3m grid and entrance into the arena was only possible from ground level.”


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