Just like gymnastics and swimming, art and architecture used to be Olympic events. Between 1912 and 1948, artists as well as athletes could receive a medal for literature, music, painting, sculpture, and architecture — otherwise known as the “pentathlon of the muses.” Art and architecture as Olympic events has since been disbanded, but architects still vie for an award each year.
The new stadium built for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London has made the shortlist for Britain’s top architecture honor – the Stirling Prize, from the Royal Institute of British Architects. Every year the prize is presented to the architects of the building that have made a great contribution to the evolution of architecture over the past year. The prize is for projects “built or designed in Britain.” Buildings are eligible if they are in the UK or Europe, and designed by an architect whose head office is in the UK.
The institute said on its website that the stadium design, by the firm Populous, “focuses very much on the ease of movement of the large numbers of people who will use the stadium during the Games.” This year’s stadium (flanked by London’s new eye-catching Olympic structure) is the lightest Olympic Stadium ever built with the roof fabricated from a PVC fabric, helping with the weight issue while keeping costs low. The structure supporting the roof is 2,500 tons of steel tubing sourced from recycled old lines – keeping with the sustainable goal that many other buildings in Olympic Park have reached.
The announcement of the winner is scheduled to take place Oct. 13.
Shaw Contract Group celebrates design excellence with its annual Design is…Award. 2012 winners will be announced August 10 and submissions for 2013 begin in September.