More than half of the buildings erected for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will be temporary venues that will be “recycled” into schools and smaller scale sporting facilities after the games, according to an Australian designer involved in the project.
Of the 7 new sporting venues to be constructed for Rio2016 (in addition to 2 existing venues), three will be permanent and four – including aquatics, handball and two tennis arenas – will be temporary.
Melbourne-based AECOM associate director Adam Williams says Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes has been the strongest advocate for including recyclable elements in the 120-hectare Olympic Park.
“[Recyclable elements is] a principle AECOM successfully used in the design of the London 2012 Olympic Park,” Williams explained. “[Paes] looked at London and wanted to push the design further.
“Over the years, we have learned a lot of lessons, and in this era of greater value for money, it is the logical evolution for design. Everything needs to work harder to ensure we gain the most value out of it.”
Williams said Rio2016 designers aimed to build permanent venues that would remain useful in the long-term, and use temporary venues otherwise.
Recyclable venues tended to be 20-30% cheaper to build than permanent venues, although they may not be able to accommodate certain technologies, he explained.
“In legacy mode, [the three temporary venues] will be ‘recycled’ for a range of legacy uses, which includes schools and smaller scale sporting facilities,” Williams told Business Insider Australia.
“The intention is that the handball venue, for example, will become three primary schools. The aquatics centre, meanwhile, has the potential to become four small venues with 25-metre pools.
“For a venue that becomes a school, you basically start with the design of the school and work backwards to design the handball venue. What we have done is effectively break the design down into a ‘kit of parts’ and study how things can fit back together.
“It’s not more difficult, but can require a little extra time.”
For last year’s London Olympics, organisers opted to rent architectural elements like seating, so the venues could be downsized for legacy use after the massive event.
One example is London’s aquatics centre, which had a 17,500-seat capacity during the Olympics and 2,500 seats afterwards.
Williams said Rio de Janeiro would employ the rental approach “across a number of venues”, as well as using a range of recyclable materials, such as interlocking paving and potted trees, for the wider park.
“This type of paving [for the surface of logistics areas] allows water permeability during ‘Games Mode’ – an important sustainability consideration,” he said.
“Post-Games, the pavers can be easily lifted and reused. The majority of the logistics areas will then be redeveloped into housing and mixed-use developments.
“Trees in pots will be used in a number of spectator areas during the Games, and then post-Games the trees will be planted along the legacy road network.”
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