Fisht Stadium by Populous

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

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What most people might forget about the Games, despite all the negativity currently surrounding the event, 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 sporting events (the country’s last event was the Moscow Summer Olympics back in 1980). Populous’ involvement in the overall master planning of the proposal helped provide the vision and infrastructure to demonstrate that Sochi could be a world class destination for winter sports.
Populous is the global award-winning sports and entertainment architecture practice that specializes in creating environments that draw people and community together for unforgettable experiences. They have designed some of the world’s most famous and recognized sporting and entertainment venues including London 2012 Olympic Stadium, Sydney 2000 Stadium and they are currently working on the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Rio de Janeiro.

The Master Plan

The venue designs 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 to meet the needs of the twenty-first century Olympic Movement and legacy for Russian sport development. The venue overlay plans demonstrate the most efficient use of venue space allocations, sensitivity to the environment and operational effectiveness meeting all of the International Olympic Committee and Federation standards.

Populous begins with a long-term legacy strategy in master planning as the starting point for creating vibrant and sustainable places within cities. They leverage sporting and entertainment venues as urban catalysts and develop the relationship between social infrastructure elements, and enhance them to add value and character to the urban realm.

This was for the first time that an Olympic Park has been designed as part of a Winter Games master plan. This unusual step guarantees a unique legacy for the Games, making Sochi a winter destination for decades to come and has reinstated Russia’s reputation as a viable host for major events. The infrastructure Populous has help create will regenerate the region, making Sochi out as a year-round tourist destination and new European winter sports center.

Fisht Olympic Stadium

The elaborate jewel-encrusted Faberge eggs that are a renowned Russian icon inspired the unique shell-like design of the Fisht Olympic Stadium. The venue features a translucent polycarbonate rood, which will be used to project vivid illumination shows during the Games, while also giving the venue an appearance of snowy peaks, ensuring it sits in harmony with the landscape of the Imeretinskaya Valley and Caucasus Mountains. Populous long with Buro Happold, created a roof structure and floor structure underneath the field of play to facilitate a range of staging options, including the suggestion for the ability for a dramatic flying arrangement for the culmination of the opening and closing ceremonies – namely a ‘flying’ cauldron emerging from the sea and coming to rest in the middle of the Olympic park.

The lower seating tier is designed to take on an extensive series of demountable structures including eight tunnels each nine meters wide and fully demountable northern section of the lower tier to enable a large-scale staging operation in that section of the seating bowl. 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 fro FIFA World Cup matches to a compact, atmospheric 25,000 for local matches.

Fallen Glory of the Pan Am Games

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In 1991, the 11th Pan American Games here held in Havana, Cuba. For sixteen days in August 4,519 athletes from 39 countries flooded the country participating in 32 different sports. The Estadio Panamericano, was the main stadium and has the capacity to hold 50,000 people.

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The stadium now which was the focus of such glory sits in ruins. The lighting, the seats details and structure have been left to decay.

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Surprisingly, the inner field is still well kept. Unfortunately, the only spectator now is a large image of Che Guevera overlooking the pitch.
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Visible from the main highway as you enter the city, the stadium is a reminder of Cuba’s international presence on the global stage.  See more here.

Edmonton Eskimos Field House and Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre

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Toronto-based firm Maclennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects have designed the Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre. The project is a joint-use partnership between the City of Edmonton and the Edmonton Eskimos Football Club; combining football operations, stadium programming, and a recreation centre.

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The facility adaptively reuses the 1978 stadium fitness centre and connects these usergroups over 4 stories through a cascading promenade and an innovative approach to materials and transparency. The project has revitalized a vacant stadium ground into a 24/7 urban park and community destination. The LEED-silver development includes a 60,000 sf 3-basin aquatic hall, 80,00 sf field house, 30,000 sf fitness centre, running track, gymnasium, and 30,000 sf of community space and new Eskimo Administration and Operations.

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Three primary masses – Field House, Aquatics and Gymnasium – respond to the dynamic triangulated geometries of the site and frame a central lobby space – ‘the Social Heart’.

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The building responds to the scale of the stadium and its dynamic nature. The pool massing creates a prow-like gesture, suggesting speed and movement. A southern canopy shields direct light and unifies with the taller field house mass.

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The cost effective silver metallic cladding is deeply carved to reveal a tessellated phenolic wood panel system. This rationalizes envelope geometries and frames large openings. Walls of variegated ceramic frit glazing modulates heat buildup, solar glare and user privacy.

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