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Old May 23rd, 2011, 12:31 AM   #2281
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Basketball Arena

The United Center, home ground of Chicago Bulls and Great Britain star Luol Deng, is the biggest arena in the United States, costing $175 million to construct. But at the London 2012 Olympics, Deng's home will be a temporary venue with a design and construction philosophy proudly described as "sensible".

The use of a top-level seat at 'The UC' costs over £4,000 a season, but once the Games are over a seat at the Olympic Basketball Arena is more likely to be occupied by an enthusiastic dog lover at a county fair than it is a big-spending basketball fan, as the whole venue is being dismantled and reconstructed elsewhere.

Located in the north-east of the Olympic Park, the temporary status of the venue has presented the designers and constructors with a set of challenges unique to the other venues in Stratford.

They have had to deliver a venue capable of being dismantled and reused at events around the world without depriving the public of a venue worthy of the Games. Despite all of these obstacles the venue looks fantastic – inside and out. The white ripples on the exterior of the venue, designed specifically to keep the vast swathes of white fabric in place, give it a futuristic feel, while inside, the steep stands suggest this arena will produce a lively atmosphere should it reach full capacity.

When you walk inside the 12,000 capacity arena it is hard to believe that a building so big could be temporary. The huge seating bowl, supported by scaffolding, was inspired by visits to air shows and other three-day events but the arena still looks and feels like a permanent indoor facility.

At a coffee shop just outside the Olympic Park, Richard Arnold, the Olympic Delivery Authority's project sponsor for the venue, admits the main philosophy behind the arena was one of keeping costs down without harming quality. "We've been working hard to make sure the costs were sensible," says Arnold. "In the current climate we're not just going to spend money for the sake of it.

"This is a temporary arena but it's huge (Arnold says a jumbo jet could fit inside the building) so it's always going to cost a certain amount. We want to make it look fantastic in its own right for the three weeks of sport but also to keep costs down. And that's the accepted philosophy of everyone. The London organising committee (Locog) have completely bought into that. We're going to be just under £40 million, so the final cost should have a 'three' in front of it. That's positive news. The team have worked hard to keep costs coming down as it's only there for a fixed period of time."

In many ways the Basketball Arena is a perfect example of the Games achieving efficiency in austere times. Even Olympic sceptics who wish not a single penny of public money had been spent on the Games would appreciate Arnold's realistic approach to costs. "This was always intended to be a temporary venue," he says. "The main reasoning behind this is that it's the third biggest venue the ODA has to build on the park. It's a hell of a big building to try and leave behind with a permanent legacy story and really the business case for it didn't stack up."

What do the athletes think? Would they have preferred a flashier venue like the ones seen in the NBA? Drew Sullivan, a cornerstone of the Great Britain's men's basketball team, who has played all over the world, feared the venue would be fit for purpose and nothing more. But upon visiting at a promotional event in April his mind was changed rapidly.

"It's really impressive. This is what I'm used to after playing in Europe for a while," says east Londoner Sullivan. "Having a place like this to play in this area of England has put a really big smile on my face. The place is absolutely beautiful and it's not even finished yet. When they said it was a temporary building I thought it would be very basic. But you can see all the work that's gone into it and that makes it even more impressive. I can't wait until the court is put down and everything's nice and shiny."

The venue is "on programme" and expected to be finished by the end of May 2011. The ODA will then hand it over to Locog at the beginning of June before a publicly-ticketed test event in August. Completion would mark the end of an 18-month programme that Arnold describes in an understated fashion as "good, steady progress". As you talk to Arnold it's easy to get lead astray by his pragmatic vocabulary and forget about the aesthetics of the venue. Of course the taxpayer wants value for money but the spectators also want to be dazzled.

A little more probing and he reveals some detail that definitely will impress.

"We're looking to light up the arena. The idea of it is based on the Allianz Arena in Munich [a white tyre-like football stadium used in the 2006 World Cup]. When Bayern Munich are at home it's lit up in red and when 1860 Munich are at home it's blue.

"What we've done is had a look at how we can uplight from the inside onto the white fabric all the way around. Then we'll get the software in so that during the Games it could look very different. It was felt that you’ve got this big white box, you’ve got the beauty of the velodrome next to it and you’ve got some of the other permanent venues. This needs something as well to give it that little bit of a lift."

Basketball Arena factfile

- Hosting Olympic basketball and handball

- Hosting Paralympic wheelchair rugby and wheelchair basketball
- Exterior white fabric installed using abseilers
- Changing room door frames 8ft tall to accommodate taller athletes
- Seats are black as it is easiest colour to recycle
- If the Basketball Arena ends up looking anything as impressive as the Allianz does at night then visitors are in for a treat. But there is still work to be done.

Most importantly it needs a court and this is expected to be laid in the weeks preceding the test event before being removed and reinstalled before the Games. Locog will also need to install a scoreboard and put warm-up courts outside.

When this venue, which can't decide whether it represents credit crunch value or a visual spectacular, hosts its first Olympic event on July 28, 2012 Arnold insists it will stun visitors. "It’s genuinely a fantastic arena and I think it will blow people away. It’s one of those things where it really shows what can be done with a temporary building. The whole seating bowl is absolutely fantastic and the view from the very back of the seating to the very front is first class. I actually think the seats right the way at the back are as good any."

One decision regarding the venue that certainly won't be popular is the absence of courtside seating. If David Beckham wants to watch the basketball he will have to do so in the seating bowl like everyone else, despite what he's become accustomed to on regular trips to watch the LA Lakers. "I'm not convinced," says Arnold. "But it would bring a bit of Hollywood glamour."
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/oth...all-Arena.html
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 03:31 AM   #2282
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Old May 24th, 2011, 12:53 AM   #2283
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Some pictures of Westfield Stratford City.

Link to Guardian article

The Olympic and Westfield site in January 2008:


Westfield Stratford City begins to take shape in May 2009:


In May 2011 the Olympic stadium, the Aquatic Centre and the Westfield Centre are all an imposing presence


Welcome to Westfield Stratford City:


Step out of Stratford station straight into the Westfield centre :


A worker outside John Lewis at Westfield Stratford City:


Inside the John Lewis store:


Inside one of the malls at Westfield Stratford City:


Looking towards the Olympic stadium and the Aquatics Centre from Westfield:


A computer-generated image of the finished site:
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Old May 24th, 2011, 04:17 AM   #2284
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'conveniently' left out the Orbit in that last image…
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Old May 24th, 2011, 04:45 AM   #2285
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For the love of Jesus someone make westfied change their branding. and name.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 01:31 PM   #2286
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by chest.





































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Old May 24th, 2011, 04:10 PM   #2287
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For the love of Jesus someone make westfied change their branding. and name.
I couldn't agree more - its such an ugly logo. Something tasteful would improve the look of the shopping mall so much more!
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Old May 24th, 2011, 09:13 PM   #2288
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Do you mean Westfield? It's the company behind it and that's pouring money in, nothing can be done on that.
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Old May 25th, 2011, 07:48 PM   #2289
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Do you mean Westfield? It's the company behind it and that's pouring money in, nothing can be done on that.
Yes. They will make their money back of course, or they wouldn't be doing it. And….they could always rebrand….in fact I just emailed them to suggest they do just that!
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Old May 26th, 2011, 11:09 PM   #2290
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Of course they want their company's name to feature in the name of place, for marketing purposes.



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Old May 27th, 2011, 12:07 PM   #2291
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Olympic Gold medallist joins amateur garden designers – Hannah and Rachel – to plant the first tree in their RHS Olympic Park garden

-- Link to London2012 --

Olympic Gold medal winner Jonathan Edwards and Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) Chairman John Armitt joined two green-fingered members of the public, Hannah and Rachel, to plant a 20-year-old oak tree in the centre of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Olympic Park Great British Garden, which they designed.

Thousands of members of the public voted online to choose12-year-old Hannah from Malmesbury as the winner of the young people’s section of the RHS Olympic Park Great British Garden Competition and Rachel from Colchester in the adult category. They beat off competition from hundreds of rivals to work with the ODA’s landscape and planting designers to help create the quarter-of-an-acre riverside garden overlooking the Olympic Stadium in the London 2012 Olympic Park.

Hannah and Rachel’s combined plan for the RHS Olympic Park Great British Garden, which has been unveiled for the first time, celebrates the unique qualities of the British garden through 2012-themed Gold, Silver and Bronze Gardens. The 20-year-old tree, grown in Hampshire, has been planted in the centre of the Gold Garden and will be surrounded by a spiral of golden flowers.

The RHS Olympic Park Great British Garden also features:
  • A colourful journey of discovery through gold, silver and bronze areas with matching colour wildflowers and grasses, and running-track inspired spiral paths.
  • An orchard, fruit bushes and fruiting hedges, including gooseberry, blackberry, raspberry and blackcurrant, reflecting Britain’s passion for growing food.
  • A living tunnel of woven willow leading to the Gold Garden and a doorway through a living Willow wall leading through to the bronze area.
  • A frog pond with wetland plants, collecting rainwater from across the garden, and a timber knee rest for pond dipping,
  • An interactive sundial and silver birch woodland in the Silver Garden.
  • A rockery, swing seat and red granite sphere as a garden feature in the Bronze Garden.
  • Meadows of British bluebells, parsley, foxgloves, forget-me-nots, poppies and wild roses and lawns surrounded by hedges, shrubs and trees.
  • An artificial kingfisher nest on the river and bird and bat boxes to create more new habitats for wildlife.
  • A ‘de Coubertin oak’, currently being grown at Kew Gardens from an acorn collected from the tree that Baron De Coubertin planted to thank the citizens of Much Wenlock for inspiring the founding of the modern Olympic Games.

ODA Chairman John Armitt said: 'The Great British Garden that Hannah and Rachel have designed is a fantastic addition to the parklands that are taking shape and will provide a green and colourful setting for the Games in 2012 before becoming a new public park in legacy. Their unique design is creating an intimate, fun and sustainable garden that can be enjoyed by people of all ages for years to come.'

Olympic gold medallist Jonathan Edwards said: 'Hannah and Rachel are making a fantastic contribution to London 2012 and it's great to see their garden go from design to reality with the first tree being planted. The Great British Garden celebrates two of the country's favourite pastimes, sport and gardening, and will be much enjoyed during and after the Games.'

Winner of the adult competition to design the RHS Olympic Park Great British Garden Rachel Read said: 'It’s amazing to stand in the space that we’ve planned out on paper and to experience it in reality. Trying to imagine how it will be in three dimensions when you’re at the design stage isn’t easy.'

Winner of the young people’s section, Hannah, said: 'It's amazing actually seeing the garden in person. It's completely different to how it looked just on paper, it's really great.'

Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson said: 'Hannah and Rachel’s combined talents have created an innovative garden design which brings together some of the best bits of Britain’s garden ecology with an Olympic flare. With such a variety of plants, flowers and wildlife, the Great British Garden will give spectators a beautiful place to relax and enjoy the atmosphere of the Games and a little bit of UK culture.'

RHS Director of Marketing, Art and Media, Dan Wolfe, said: 'The landscape of the park will be an important element of visitors’ experience of the London 2012 Games. What better way to celebrate gardening’s place as part of British culture.'

Work is well underway to create around 250 acres of new parklands on former industrial land, that will provide a colourful and festival atmosphere for the London 2012 Games and afterwards become the largest new urban park in the UK for over a century.





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Old May 27th, 2011, 12:22 PM   #2292
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http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/UK-...easer_Region_1
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Old May 28th, 2011, 01:30 AM   #2293
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Old May 28th, 2011, 01:47 AM   #2294
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by JonoFromCBR on Flickr.

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Old May 28th, 2011, 07:09 PM   #2295
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LONDON 2012: East End regeneration in full swing

Take overground train across east London and you don't have to look very far to make out some of the tangible benefits that London 2012 is bringing to the area. The Olympic Park is nearing completion, with the Olympic Stadium and the Aquatics Centre already jostling for position on the skyline, while across the other side of the river the O2 arena that will host the gymnastics is ready to rumble.

But regenerating a particularly down-trodden area cannot be done by impressive stadia alone, other work is underway to turn east London around. This kind of work focuses not on the economic benefits that something as enormous as an Olympic Games can herald, indeed it is a far more personal struggle, you need to get off the train to find it.

Idris Elba, star of HBO's The Wire, is one of those people trying to make a difference in the fight to regenerate the East End. "I think it's fantastic that London has been chosen for the Olympics, the eyes of the whole world are going to be on us next year and it's a great chance to make some changes," said Elba, who grew up in Canning Town.

"England isn't perfect, there are areas of London where there are serious problems, especially here in the east where there are young kids fighting pointless postal code wars.

"Where I grew up we just didn't have role models, but with the Olympics coming next year there's a chance for a whole new generation of heroes, a chance for young people to get inspired all over again. Not only that but there's going to be a lot of focus on troubled areas like this and there are a lot of people who are willing to go that extra mile to try and clean them up."

One such person is Luke Dowdney MBE, founder and director of Fight for Peace, an international not-for-profit organisation which uses boxing and martial arts to help young people in communities that suffer from crime and violence. Dowdney, who was himself a keen amateur boxer, founded Fight For Peace in Brazil in 2000 right in the heart of the favelas of Rio de Janeiro before setting up a second academy in North Woolwich in 2007.

As many as 1,800 young members of the local community are now signed up to the east London project and in order to widen their appeal Dowdney recently announced the launch of the LUTA clothing range. LUTA is a new collection of fightwear that, unlike high street brands, has a real social mission with 50 per cent of the profits being driven straight back into the FFP academies.

And Elba, who lends his voice to LUTA's first advert, admits that an academy like this is exactly what he would have loved when he was growing up. "I used to train as a kickboxer for seven years so this is a deeply personal project for me, I know full well the benefit that programmes like this can have," he said. Where I grew up we had pretty much nothing, we certainly didn't have a boxing gym and if we did I don't know if I would even have come.

"But now we have this opportunity to be a beacon and to show kids that there are other ways, the moment they come in here they have made a change for the good in their life. Not only are we getting these kids off the streets and in the gym but while they're here they are releasing all that aggression that they have locked up inside."
http://www.morethanthegames.co.uk/lo...ion-full-swing
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Old May 29th, 2011, 01:51 AM   #2296
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Old May 29th, 2011, 05:40 PM   #2297
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What a great way to ruin a fabulous building. The pool looks like a big bag of shit with the temporary stands tacked onto either side.

Lets build an iconic structure.... and then turn it into a non-descript shed.
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Old May 29th, 2011, 05:42 PM   #2298
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The area right around the Olympic Park is definitely on its way to become the new property hotspot.

Quote:
Rents could top £2,000 a week during Games

A rush by "unscrupulous" landlords to cash in on the 2012 Olympics will push already spiralling rents even higher as demand for properties grows.

With would-be buyers increasingly finding the bottom rung of the property ladder out of their reach, landlords are preparing to let their properties to people attending the Games for bumper profits. Property experts have warned that existing tenants could be forced out to make way for visitors willing to pay as much as £2,000 a week for an East London flat.

"Unfortunately there are unscrupulous landlords out there and, when there is pressure on the market, it creates opportunity for them," said Samantha Baden, an analyst at housing website findaproperty.com.

Beyond the area around the Olympic site at Stratford, agents in London are already reporting rent increases of around 8 to 10 per cent over the last year. The average rent in the capital is soon expected to reach £1,000 a month, and the average age for a first-time buyer in the capital is 43.

Estate agents say that many people are having to rent as they cannot afford to buy, and that this is forcing prices up. Neil Dawson, a lettings manager at Frank Harris and Company, added that "a lot of people are just staying put, and there aren't many buy-to-lets happening either", further decreasing the number of houses available to those looking to rent.

The expected demand for flats during the Olympics is so great that at least one property listings company has changed its focus towards providing a service for people looking to make a little extra renting out their homes during the Games.

Pure Holiday Homes, which specialises in short-term rentals, has begun an advertising campaign and set up a dedicated section on its website in an effort to tap into this market. Sean Collins, the company's joint CEO, said a lot of his clients are "interested in dipping their toe in the water for something like the Olympics".

He added: "I can also see existing landlords beginning to turn their thoughts towards the Olympics and plan their strategies now, and why shouldn't they? The hotels are putting their prices up by a factor of four or five. We believe that a lot of people will be tempted by the prospect of renting out their homes for a couple of weeks and going on holiday – they can make thousands per week."

Helen Jefferson Lenskyj, a retired professor at the University of Toronto and author of three books on the impact of the Olympics, warned that London will face many of the same social ills that other Western cities have seen. She wrote: "In Vancouver [host of last year's Winter Games], the landlords in low-rent accommodation saw dollar signs. They evicted their tenants and sold the buildings for big profits."

Organisers of the London Olympics have been keen to stress that affordable housing will be a key part of the Games' legacy. During major sporting events, exhibitions and festivals, property owners typically raise rates from anywhere between 50 and 200 per cent, according to the property firm HomeAway Holiday-Rentals. "Based on what we saw in the World Cup in South Africa, we are anticipating people in prime spots in London will be able to raise their rates by 200 to 250 per cent," a spokesman said.

Lucian Cook, head of research at the estate agent Savills, warned that landlords will have to "weigh up the costs of finding a tenant after the Olympics [against] the money they make in the rent rise during it".

Around 3.5 million people are living in rented accommodation across the country, and the housing minister, Grant Shapps, is looking to attract more investment in an effort to increase the supply of housing. Mr Shapps said he wants to end the "unfavourable stamp duty arrangements for bulk property purchases" and indicated that, with 300,000 long-term empty properties in the country, the Government is investing £100m to "tackle the problem".
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...s-2289711.html
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Old May 29th, 2011, 07:54 PM   #2299
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msl1 View Post
'conveniently' left out the Orbit in that last image…
That render was made before the Orbit was even proposed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Chaos View Post
What a great way to ruin a fabulous building. The pool looks like a big bag of shit with the temporary stands tacked onto either side.

Lets build an iconic structure.... and then turn it into a non-descript shed.
The stands are temporary, as you said.
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Old May 29th, 2011, 09:31 PM   #2300
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Originally Posted by Captain Chaos View Post
What a great way to ruin a fabulous building. The pool looks like a big bag of shit with the temporary stands tacked onto either side.

Lets build an iconic structure.... and then turn it into a non-descript shed.
Perhaps you should check out a few youtube clips on the "pool" and you will see what an impressive building it is.

The temporary stands are necessary to house the 18,000 odd spectators for the games but they will be dismantled post games.

The structure that will be left in legacy mode is fabulous as you say but how else are they to accommodate that many spectators!
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