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Monday, September 26, 2011

Royal Restraint - London Olympics 2012

How could the British match and counter-act China's boastful Olympic architectural staging?  With only a fraction of the investment the Chinese made, the British are poised on teaching designers and all others a lesson on taste and restraint.  In this case, Hopkins Architects gives a contemporary look at Mies van de Rohe's old adage "less is more;" the buildings morphology is in direct representation of its function and needs.  The hyperbolic paraboloid-shaped velodrome, demonstrates the prowess of minimum material geometries, even its roof system features a double curving cable net structure reminiscent of Frei Otto's groundbreaking and yet very current 1972 Munich Olympic Stadium.  But all this aside, simply the shape is pleasing and soft.  Its materiality is tactful and individualistic; as seen on the western red cedar timber cladding that wraps all 360 degrees of the building.  Each wood panel, although shaped and placed in unison with all others, still offers a unique patina and tone.  Composition wise its quite graceful; establishing a crisp order, where the material use directly indicates function.  The continuous strip of glazing not only serves as a gentle brake from earth to sky, but offers visual continuity from exterior to interior and a welcoming to the approaching spectator.

Photo Credits: Richard Davies

True minimalism at its essence. - Ecomanta