A new exhibition highlighting past and future Olympic Stadiums has opened at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The hands-on exhibition addresses stadiums through time, from the ancient stadium in Olympia to the stadiums of the various editions of the modern Games.
Launching the exhibition, curator Geraint John, senior adviser at architects Populous, said it is essential that Olympic stadiums leave a legacy for the host city. He said:
They can be iconic buildings but they have also to be practical. They have to be buildings that work, they have to be buildings that are fit for purpose. We don’t just want monuments, we want practical buildings that have a life for the Olympics and a legacy afterwards.
The buzzwords are legacy, regeneration and sustainability. An Olympic stadium has to have a useful life for the whole city. It has to be flexible to allow things to happen in it and to allow the mangers of the building to do something that is needed by society afterwards.
We have to create buildings with rising standards. The stadium of the future has to encompass people’s standards of behaviour and of comfort that are different from the past.
The temporary exhibition is in three parts. The first part is staged in an area designed to resemble a stadium and outlines the history of stadiums and their evolution from Antiquity up to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. It also highlights the creativity of the people who built them.
There is a multimedia touch-screen table, which has a plexiglas model of the Colosseum in the centre. It unveils its construction mysteries and its incredible modernity including retractable roofs and crowd management solutions.
Four visitors can play at the same time, drawing comparisons between the Colosseum and modern stadiums like the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille, the Bird’s Nest in Beijing.
The second area moves visitors into the present and gives an understanding of the stadium as one piece of a gigantic jigsaw puzzle, which includes the construction of other buildings and the developments in an entire city neighbourhood.
Through four themes, this second area looks at what building a stadium involves, from the planning and design stage to its post-Games use. It also pays tribute to the unsung heroes of the project, all the workers without whom none of it would be possible.
Through many archive videos, visitors can understand how the concepts of sustainable development and legacy apply to the construction of the stadium: they learn how these concepts have become a cornerstone of the International Olympic Commitee’s policy, and what are the criteria for a stadium to be considered sustainable.
There is a spotlight on London 2012 and snapshots of four other Olympic Games.
Visitors can project a satellite view of the Olympic Park onto the floor, and travel through time from the start of Great Britain’s Olympic adventure in 1997 up to 2030.
The different stages of the project’s key dates help visitors to appreciate the complexity and duration of the project.
This area also gives an insight into how four very dfferent Olympic cities – Sydney, Athens, Beijing and Rio de Janeiro – manage their Olympic legacy.
The final theme in the second part of the exhibition gives an idea of the variety and diversity of trades and professions required to create and run a stadium.
All these people working behind the scenes are vital to the success of the project, and they are honoured in the work of Neville Gabie, London 2012’s artist in residence, and photographer Helen Couchman, who documented Beijing 2008.
9.58 is a video sequence that takes the same length of time as Usain Bolt’s 100m world record. The video contains 25 images per second of 239 people who were involved in the stadium construction.
The final area of the exhibition also introduces examples of radical, utopian cities and buildings. For instance, a flying stadium, the Airship Stadium of World Peace, was honoured in a “Stadium of Tomorrow” architecture contest organised by Populous in Korea in 2012. This highly imaginative project is based around the concept of a floating stadium that can travel around the host country and move from country to country.
The exhibition itself runs until May 7, 2017.