Wednesday, July 18, 2012

PAIRS 5 - 1956 : 2012 OLYMPIC POOLS


 Melbourne 1956 Olympic Swimming Pool   Peter McIntyre Architect
Building of the Year 1956

London 2012 Olympic Aquatics Centre   Zaha Hadid Architects

One example that officials are keen to highlight is the new velodrome, which uses natural light and ventilation to reduce consumption of energy.
McCarthy* says it is "a fantastic example of a sustainaable building as it uses only half the materials of the Beijing velodrome and overshoots all the goals for reducing energy consumption."
But he concedes London's "star" venue, the Aquatics Centre, is at the other end of the sustainability spectrum. Its spectacular wave-like roof required 3000 tonnes of steel, "which in turn required a lot of concrete to support all that steel."
"Its beautiful but a little bit unnecessary and not exactly a low-impact building."
HIGHER, FASTER, GREENER  The Australian, Wednesday, 18 July 2012, page 11.
(* Shaun McCarthy, chairman of the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012.) 

A quick comparison of the construction photographs suggests that the 1956 builidng was greener than the 2012 structure, in spite of the intent of 2012 games to be the greenest Olympics ever - 'more environmentally sustainable and lower carbon than any previous games.'
One has to ask: Less is more? Was the concept of the wave so important as to wave goodbye to all concerns on green matters: style rather than content? Is this why it has been called "a little bit unnecessary"?
By way of comparison, the British battleship, Westminster, is 3500 tonnes of floating steel. Astonishingly, the 'wave' roof of the Aquatic Centre is almost the equivalent of a battleship suspended over the pool, in dry dock as it were. Unnecessary? All for the sake of an image? The 1956 roof structure was an integral part of the whole support system, not just some randomly added form to intrigue.

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