Rio Olympics Architecture Review


Rio Olympics Architecture

The Rio Olympic have made multiple headlines for a variety of unpromising reasons. There were the loud bangs at the men’s road cycling, the shattered glass in the media area, and the collapsed sailing ramp. Unfortunately if you asked a room of people if they thought any these were likely to happen then I am sure more than just a few would raise their arms. However, let’s look past these ‘small issues’ and take a look at the architecture that has helped create a positive image at the Games.

The Goliath of giants, Aecom, was responsible for the designs, like they are for so many of the world’s lavish super events, of the Rio Games. The main arena for the Olympics is the Barr Olympic park which hosts nine different events including; the velodrome, handball, basketball, wrestling, aquatics, taekwondo, and wrestling. This Olympics has been budget built unlike the previous London and Beijing Olympics. The majority of the buildings have been designed either to be taken after the Games or to be renovated into new projects that are for the benefit of the locals – it’s a shame other host nations don’t do the same. The hand ball stadia has been designed to be taken apart and re-sculptured into a series of schools once the games have finished. The handball arena was designed by AndArchitects, a UK firm, along with the local firm of Lopes, Santos & Ferriera Gomes.

The Brazilians boasted that the Olympic accommodation was designed to be equal to “that only kings previously had” according to Carlos Carvalho who is the senior citizen 92 year old who developed the building of the 31 tower blocks of the athlete’s village. He must be referencing to the Pharaoh who was at the receiving end of the Moses’ plagues because the flooded floors, mould ridden walls, and broken lifts are surprisingly not very royal. The project cost just shy of a billion dollars and the investment companies were hoping to recoup their investment by selling them off as luxury apartments after the Games. Unfortunately the property market took a sizeable step backwards after falling 20% and less 300 of the available 3500 have been sold. What is more incredulous is that more than half the buildings hadn’t been inspected or certified as safe when the athletes moved in!

The Olympic cauldron, holder the Olympic flame and hopes, was designed by American movement sculptor Anthony Howe. The theme of the design is strongly anti-global warming which is again surprising considering the rate of deforestation that Brazil undertake. Whilst it sends out the right message it is slightly hypercritical. The cauldron has been placed in the centre of the city having been removed from the stadium after the Olympic opening ceremony. All in all the architecture of the Rio Olympic Games is top standard. Despite the budget and the poor interior of the athlete accommodation, the overall architecture of the Games has been a success.