Due to their sustainable design, they can be transformed according to society’s new needs.
In most countries that have hosted the Games, the Olympic sport facilities lie rusting and underutilized after the Games. In order to address this issue, the International Olympic Committee has in recent years directed organizers and host cities to take into consideration the city’s planning after the end of the games, as most venues either are too big for regular activities and events or of no use at all. In this direction, easily dismantled stadia were used in the London 2012 Games. And now in Rio 2016, the technology used is even more sustainable: structures that can be removed, rebuilt, and repurposed, something that Mayor Eduardo Paes calls “nomadic architecture.”
The 12,000-seat Future Arena, which hosted the Olympic handball and the Paralympic goalball games, will be repurposed into four 500-student primary schools in the nearby neighborhoods of Jacarepaguá and Barra, and in São Cristóvão on the eastern coast. The arena, designed by the UK firm AndArchitect, is made of smaller modular parts that are bolted together. The roof and the vertical columns will be dismantled and moved to the schools’ sites, and the panels of the façade will become sunshades and rain screens. Even the plumbing components and the wiring will just be detached and reapplied there.
The Future Arena is planned to be transformed into 4 primary schools. Source: AndArchitects
The 20,000-seat Olympics Aquatics Stadium, which cost $38 million, will also be disassembled and the components will be used to erect two smaller pools; one in Madureira Park and one in the Campo Grande area. The challenge though, is disassembling and reassembling the enormous fiberglass tubs.
The International Broadcast Centre’s steel frame will provide the framework for a high school dormitory for gifted athletes. The 18,250 seats that filled the Olympic Tennis Centre will be reused elsewhere, as will much of the main souvenir shop. And Barra Olympic Park—a 300-acre, triangular peninsula that features nine Olympic venues—will host public parks and private development after the Games.
“We’re at a stage in the Olympics where social and financial responsibility are much more important than they used to be”, said Bill Hanway of AECOM, which created the master plan for the Olympic parks in London and Rio. The trick, he says, is using prefabricated, modular parts—a decades-old technique enjoying renewed interest because it is cheaper, faster, and more sustainable than conventional methods. Advances in materials and techniques have made modular structures lighter, stronger, and more weathertight than before. Also, these temporary buildings can have a carbon footprint half the size of a conventional structure, and can cost 50 to 80% less, usually being completed faster too. Not having to maintain permanent stadiums can save millions more.
Despite Brazil’s economic challenges and unstable political situation that could slow the plan, Hanway says that only by developing the sites can the developers make back the money initially put in to build the park for the Olympics. It seems that they are pressed to fulfill their post-games promises and Rio Mayor Paes’ vocal support for the “nomadic architecture” scheme will also put pressure on him to keep his word.