The 2014 Sochi Olympics are officially here. I, like so many, watched the opening ceremonies and marveled at the artistry and spectacle that took place within the Fisht Olympic Stadium. What most people might forget about the Games, was that Russia’s bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics was part of a broader goal to step back onto the world stage as hosts of major sporing events (the country’s last event was the Moscow Summer Olympics back in 1980.)
This was for the first time that an Olympic Park has been developed as part of a Winter Games master plan. Designed by global award-winning sports and entertainment architecture firm Populous, the venues provide unparalleled concepts for the Games and legacy applications for the future of Russian sport training and event programs. Eleven purpose built venues were included in the scope which demonstrate the most efficient use of space allocations, sensitivity to the environment and operational effectiveness. Populous’s strategy leverages sport and entertainment venues as urban catalysts to enhance the character of the urban realm guaranteeing Sochi as a year-round tourist destination in Europe.
The Fisht Olympic Stadium features a translucent polycarbonate roof, which gives the venue an appearance of snowy peaks, showcasing how it sits in harmony with the landscape of the Imeretinskaya Valley and Caucasus Mountains. The lower seating tier is designed to take on an extensive series of demountable structures. Within the park, the main level of the stadium is raised on a landscaped mound, providing stunning views from within. The engineering systems will enable the in-built flexibility of the stadium’s design means its capacity can change over time to provide event configurations from 45,000 seats for FIFA World Cup matches to compact, atmospheric 25,000 for local matches.