Construction starts early on 2012 Aquatics Centre
By Richard High17 July 2008
Work will start on the foundations of the venue which will form a stunning ‘Gateway to the Games' in 2012 and in legacy, will provide world-class swimming facilities that London currently does not have.
The ODA also announced that it had delivered virtually all, and exceeded some of its ‘Dig, Demolish, Design: Milestones to Beijing' and set out its next set of milestones for the year ahead, ‘The Big Build: Foundations'.
Milestones hit by the ODA in the past year include:
- 192 buildings demolished
- over one million cubic metres of soil excavated to shape the park
- two six kilometre tunnels and 200km of cabling complete
- contractors appointed to build the ‘Big Four' Olympic Park venues and design work well-advanced
- construction started on the Olympic Stadium three months ahead of schedule
- construction started two months early on Aquatics Centre
- construction started on the Olympic Village.
Aquatics Centre key facts:
- the Zaha Hadid designed Aquatics Centre is located in the south of the Olympic Park and will be the main ‘Gateway into the Games', hosting swimming, diving, synchronised swimming, water polo finals and the swimming discipline of the Modern Pentathlon
- the Aquatics Centre will have a capacity of 17500 during the Games, reducing to a maximum of 2500 in legacy, with the ability to add 1000 for major events, and provide two 50 m swimming pools, a diving pool and dry diving area - facilities London does not have at present
- eleven industrial buildings have been demolished on the 55000 m2 site
- around 130000 tonnes of soil have been dug out on of what was one of the more challenging and complex areas of the Olympic Park, contaminated with pollutants including petrol, oil, tar, solvents and heavy metals such as arsenic and lead
- four skeletons were discovered and removed from a prehistoric settlement discovered on the site of the Aquatic Centre
- 140000 tonnes of clean soil has been brought from other areas of the Olympic Park to prepare for construction to start
- planning permission has been achieved and Balfour Beatty has recently been appointed to build the Aquatics Centre and huge land-bridge that forms the roof of the training pool and the main pedestrian access to the Olympic Park. Construction work will be complete in 2011 for test events ahead of the Games
- the sweeping roof, which is 160 m long and 95 m at its widest point, is an innovative 2800 tonne steel structure with a striking and robust aluminium covering resting on three supports just 1 m squared.
- the design team is currently considering different types of timber cladding for the internal ceiling of the venue and the sides of the roof supports. The timber selected will be tested over the next twelve months to ensure it works both for the Games and in legacy before installation in 2010.
- the budget for the Aquatics Centre is UK£ 242 million (€ 306 million) and the budget for the land-bridge that will also form part of the roof of the venue is UK£ 61 million (€ 77 million). The total of UK£ 303 million (€ 383 million) has not changed and is within the ODA's Baseline Budget as announced by the DCMS last December.
While the ODA said it has exceeded a number of its ‘Milestones to Beijing', it reported that due to the wider economic climate it has taken longer than anticipated to agree financing of the Olympic Village development.
The ODA also said that due to contamination on the original site, construction work on the Broxbourne White Water Canoe Centre was delayed while a new site was secured and that while the treatment of contaminated soil on the Olympic Park is slightly behind schedule, the construction programme is unaffected.