London 2012; Transformation Olympic Stadium (2)


Building contract awarded


Stadium’s retractable seating pushed and pulled by hand

The Olympic running track where Bolt, Ennis and Farah struck gold during London 2012 will be out of bounds to athletes for nine months every year.

The £154m cost of converting the Olympic stadium into a new home for West Ham includes retractable seating over the running track. But unlike other venues, the seats will not be fitted with a hydraulic or electrical mechanism.

Instead, they’ll be pushed and pulled into place by a team of stadium workers. The process will take up to seven days. That means the track is likely to remain covered throughout the football season from August to May.

A warm-up track, with seating for 300 spectators, will be built next to the stadium and is likely to become the main focus for grassroots and community sport. Officials at the London Legacy Development Corporation said the manually-operated retractable seats would be cheaper to build and maintain.

Source: ITV

Montréal 1976; Olympic Stadium


Interview with the architect: (Roger Taillibert)



Financial problems

When that stadium was in the planning stages, then-International Olympic President Rogi Rousseau’s projections were rosy: “The 1976 Olympic Games will be self-financing, without adding in any way to the Canadian taxpayer’s burden. Without any special subsidy of any type whatsoever.” It didn’t work out that way. The Olympic Stadium’s cost overruns were spectacularly excessive. Over the years, the building required numerous expensive repairs. The people of Montreal didn’t finish paying the bill, which climbed over $1 billion, until 2006, by which time the building had been without a regular tenant for two years. It still doesn’t have one.

Full article: Only A Game

London 2012; Transformation Olympic Stadium started

The transformation of the 2012 Olympic Stadium has started. The seats in the lower bowl were removed and the track is covered with soil and concrete. The next step is the removal of the 14 iconic floodlights. The new roof will be completed by spring 2015.

(video: London Legacy Development Corporation)

New retractable seating will be installed from October 2015. The transformation works are completed in the summer of 2016.


From 2016 the stadium will be used for football (West Ham United) and athletics (annual Diamond League meeting).