Aquatics Centre unveiled as main Olympic Park venues completed on time and budget- 27 Jul 2011
With exactly a year to go until the start of the London 2012 Games, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has announced that the Aquatics Centre is now complete, the last of the six main Olympic Park venues to finish construction.
The Olympic Stadium, Velodrome, Handball Arena, Basketball Arena and the International Broadcast Centre were all completed earlier this year.
The Aquatics Centre is being unveiled today with British Olympic hopeful Tom Daley making the first dive into the pool this evening. New images of the completed Aquatics Centre and activity taking place inside the venue will be available from midday on Wednesday 27th July from here – Aquatics images.
Back in July 2006, the ODA set out a challenging brief to clean and clear the Olympic Park site and build the new venues and infrastructure needed in time for test events by the summer of 2011 - a year before the Games. This has now been achieved on time, to budget, with a safety record far better than the industry average, and by setting new standards in sustainability and accessible design.
Double Commonwealth Gold medallist and 2012 hopeful Tom Daley said: 'Marking the 1 year to go, by diving in the Aquatics Centre is an incredible honour. Only a few years ago, this was a distant dream. The fact that I qualified at the weekend and am taking the first dive is a complete privilege. I can't wait for next year and the honour of representing Team GB.'
ODA Chairman John Armitt said: 'The Aquatics Centre will be a fantastic gateway to the Games in 2012 and a much-needed new community and elite sporting venue for the capital afterwards. Five years ago, in July 2006, we published a delivery timetable which set out the ambitious target to complete the main venues a year before the Games. Today, with the completion of the sixth main permanent venue, I am proud to say that we have delivered on that commitment.
'The completion of the Aquatics Centre is the latest chapter in a British success story where tens of thousands of workers and business from across the UK have demonstrated the ability of this country to successfully deliver major projects.'
LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe said: 'With construction now complete on the Aquatics Centre, we are another step closer to the spectacular Olympic Park which will be host to world class sport in 2012. And after the Games, the venue will become a much-needed swimming facility for London with community use at its heart, epitomising the spirit of London’s bid – a Games which would bring lasting change and encourage people to choose sport. Everyone involved can be very proud of this venue and the progress of the Olympic Park as a whole. I congratulate the ODA and their teams who have done a fantastic job.'
Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt said: 'The build project for London 2012 has been a huge success for the British construction industry, public sector and UK plc as a whole. The completion of the Aquatics Centre is the final permanent world-class sport venue to be finished on the Park and a proud moment for the ODA. All those that have worked on the Olympic Park deserve huge credit for what they have achieved. The venues are stunning and the stage is now set for us to put on the greatest sporting show on earth.'
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'It's fantastic to add the beautiful Aquatics Centre to London's list of first class venues which are already set to welcome the world's greatest sportsmen and women. To have all six permanent venues complete with a year still to go to the Games is a great achievement, and a firm sign that we are well on track to deliver a truly spectacular show in 2012. Congratulations to the ODA and all those who have worked on the construction of the Olympic Park for reaching this milestone.'
Andrew Altman, Chief Executive of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, said: 'The Aquatics Centre will be a unique facility in London that puts sport at the heart of regeneration. As a focal point for community, national and international swimming, it will sit at the centre of the south plaza - London’s newest public space which will welcome visitors to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park after the Games.'
Construction started on the Zaha Hadid-designed Aquatics Centre just over three years ago in June 2008 and has been completed on time and with an exemplary safety record. Over 3630 people have worked on the construction of the venue and over 370 UK businesses have won contracts including the steel for the roof from Wales, pool lights from Scotland, pumps from Bedfordshire, under-floor heating by a company from Newcastle-upon-Tyne and water testing done by a Flintshire-based business.
In total, over 40,000 people have worked on the Park since April 2008 and over 1500 direct contracts worth £6bn have been distributed to thousands of companies across the UK.
The Aquatics Centre was supposed to be the bravura architectural performance of the London Games. Costing £269 million, it was to be the icon of the park, with its wave-like roof oversailing not just the three swimming pools inside but projecting outwards to form a gateway to the Olympic Park.
But in fact the centre has had a poor press in design terms, eclipsed by the economical, Meccano-like Olympic Stadium and the Velodrome, praised for its cable-net roof and fast, daylit track. Most of the aesthetic criticism has been of the ugly, temporary stands that project from either side of the building - they do indeed look cheap, tacky, and not in the spirit of the architecture of the permanent pool. These temporary wings will seat 15,000 of the 17,500 swimming spectators during the Games, and everyone from Lord Coe downwards now says that the building will look a lot better "in legacy" than it will during the main event.
Read the full article in the Evening Standard: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard-olympics/article-23972976-at-the-heart-of-the-stingray.do