Design for 2012 Olympic stadium unveiled

A flurry of rhetoric marked the unveiling of the winning design for London's Olympic stadium yesterday, as it was claimed the £496m project would be a "beacon" for London and herald a new era in stadium design.

The innovative stadium was praised for its post-Games potential. The plan has pioneered state-of-the-art engineering to allow its transformation from an 80,000 -capacity venue to just 25,000 after the event.

The project is being led by the architects HoK Sport. Rod Sheard, of the company's Team Stadium, said: "The design is a response to the challenge of creating the temporary and the permanent at the same time – that is the essence of the design for the stadium. A new era of Olympic stadium design will be launched in 2012, demonstrating how a successful event can be blended with the long-term needs of the community."

The venue, which will be surrounded on three sides by water, will host the track and field events as well as the opening ceremony for the Games. But once the last Olympian leaves in 2012, it will be transformed into a multi-purpose community venue for athletics and sport.

To allow this to happen easily, permanent seating is sunk into the ground, while the 55,000 temporary seats can be removed from their tiered circles above.

The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said the design would "act as a beacon symbolising the extraordinary transformation and regeneration of east London", adding that it "must be the most environmentally sustainable stadium ever constructed anywhere on the face of the planet".

But fears that it will be a white elephant have not yet been assuaged, as no post-2012 bids are yet in place to make use of the stadium. Mr Livingstone said he was not surprised by the lack of bidders. "It is really inconceivable that anyone would have signed up to occupy a stadium before they could see it," he said. "Now that we have this design, I think we will move very rapidly on negotiations."

Futuristic pods arranged around the structure will be used to house food facilities and amenities. A vast cable-supported roof will cover two-thirds of spectators.

Building is set to be completed in 2011. To ensure the sustainability of the project, temporary walls will be made from fabric painted with Olympic motifs that can then be removed and reused. Talks are being held to investigate turning this fabric into souvenir bags, and the temporary seating will also be sold off.

The change in budget for the stadium – from £280m in the 2004 estimate to the current estimate of £496m – has been put down to inflation and VAT. John Armitt, chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority, said: "Nearly £500m is a lot of money in anyone's terms but it is the budget and we are determined to work within that."

Rising costs

6 July 2005

London erupts into citywide partying after beating Paris to win the right to host the 2012 Olympics. The government announces a "robust" estimate of the costs saying they will run to approximately £2.4bn.

November 2006

A survey of industry specialists estimates final cost will reach £11.9bn. London 2012, meanwhile, admits stadium cost will rise from £280m to approximately £500m.

February 2007

A secret "worst case scenario" budget leaked to the press reveals that the Government expects the total bill to exceed £9bn.

March 2007

Tessa Jowell tells the Commons that the revamped Olympic budget has risen to £9.3bn, nearly four times the original estimate.

September 2007

Dispatches investigation accuses Tessa Jowell of knowing that the Olympic budget would overrun 16 months before admitting it.

June 2007

Controversial Olympics logo is revealed and widely panned by critics. The total cost of developing the logo ran to £400,000.


Officials release details of £496m 80,000-seat stadium that will serve as the centrepiece of the 2012 Olympics. It is nearly double its original cost. An aquatic centre, to be built by Balfour Beatty, has also risen from £75m to £150m.

voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes