On July 6 2005, the International Olympic Committee announced the designation of London as the host of the 2012 Olympic Games. 8 days later, the Olympic Bill was introduced to the Parliament, allowing the launch of lottery scratch cards in order to fund the Games. In the preparation of the reception of the Games, the city of London started a big renovation plan that came with the construction of several infrastructures. Among them was the Olympic Village.
The Olympic Village had the most spacious accommodation in the history of the Games, with ample room to house the 16,000 athletes and NOC team officials in 17,320 beds, and with the capacity to add more if required.
The Olympic Village was conveniently located in the midst of most sports venues. The great majority of competitors (80% of Olympic athletes and over 95% of Paralympic athletes) will be within 20 minutes of their venues. Though unified in design, the Olympic Village had distinct residential and international zones in strict accord with IOC Olympic Village guidelines.
The international zone, located north of Stratford International station, comprises athletes’ entertainment and leisure facilities, the visitors’ welcome centre, the media sub-centre, meeting rooms and conference facilities and areas for the Welcome Ceremonies and flag displays. The residential zone contains the apartments, the main dining facility and the polyclinic.
Adjacent buildings houses various services including athlete accreditation, sports information, the NOC centre, the Olympic Village operations and service area (VOSA), the athletes’ disco and the Chef de Mission meeting hall. The transport mall was split into two main areas. One served the Olympic Park and the other provided transit to other London competition venues. As the Games progressed, bus services operated from here to London’s key tourist venues. Transport within the Olympic Village itself was provided by a zero-emission continuous bus shuttle to connect apartment blocks with all the main facilities, including the transport mall and dining facilities. This service ran on a continuous 24-hour basis, although on a reduced basis during the early hours of the morning (01.00hrs to 05.00hrs). The Olympic Village’s main entrance is at the southern end of the complex, close to Stratford International station and the main vehicle pickup/drop off facility. Secure car parking for accredited guests and visiting officials will be nearby.
Given the size and the nature of the project, the LOCOG (London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games) and the ODA (Olympic Delivery Authority) did not wait for the IOC decision to begin the project of the construction of an Olympic Village. As we can see on the table below, the organizations started, since 2003, the groundwork for the athletes’ accommodation. By the time the IOC gave its verdict, the location was chosen and the designing details were already on their way. As the soon as the decision was made public, the tendering for the main contractor began. Shortly after, the construction on-site started with the demolition phase. The construction of the Village was completed in early 2012 for a total duration on-site of almost 6 years.
The area chosen as the construction site was located in east London, seven minutes from all of the attractions of the city centre and in the heart of the Olympic Park. This location is part of the development project of Stratford City. Stratford City will bring almost 5 000 homes and 30 000 jobs to Stratford and has been given outline planning consent. The project, once completed, will be one of the largest mixed use developments in the UK for many years. It is the brainchild of development partners Chelsfield plc, Stanhope plc and London and Continental Railways. The plans include 465,000 square meters of offices, 4,850 new homes for approximately 11,000 people, 150,500 square meters of retail space and up to 2,000 hotel bedrooms. Work began in 2006 and is expected to take 20 years to complete.
In early 2003, the governmental organizations carried a full environmental impact assessment as part of the Olympic masterplan planning applications. This environmental assessment considered existing site conditions, potential impacts of Olympic developments on the site and its surroundings, as well as opportunities for environmental management, awareness-raising and cultural activities. The studies and mitigation proposals have formed the basis for a detailed environmental brief for the Olympic Village. It includes: • Application of the highest recognized UK standards for sustainable construction to meet carbon emission and waste minimization targets
• Climate-proofing to take account of predicted climate changes in the decades ahead • An integrated approach to resource management and infrastructure development for energy, water and waste • Emphasis on access, mobility and community services infrastructure to reduce car dependency and promote healthier lifestyles • High soundscape quality and a legacy of exemplary noise management practices with supportive soundscapes for people with visual and hearing impairments • Incorporation of green space and biodiversity into the design to provide ecological, water management, air quality and visual amenity benefits.
Because the Village also welcomed the athletes participating in the Paralympic Games, the service providers were asked to make necessary adjustments to the physical features of their premises to allow equal access for all in accordance with the UK’s Building Regulations. The LOCOG will ensure that the Paralympic Village will meet any new standards agreed with the IPC, such as single room accommodation for every athlete with a severe disability (such as those who use an electric wheelchair for daily living). Every apartment will benefit from spacious bathrooms and shower rooms. Because the Paralympic Village will be specifically designed to be accessible, the IPC and the NPCs will – for the first time – be able to indicate in advance where any special aids and facilities should be located.
The construction costs were planned to reach $ 1 101 million for a 5 years project (from June 2007 to May 2012). As we can see on the table below, almost the total of that sum has been used for the main construction work of the site. The LOCOG financed the temporary works for an amount of £ 61 million. Those temporary workers, employed in early 2012, were given the task to tune up the Village (equipping it with furnitures). The financing of the permanent workers for an amount of more than a billion pounds will be discussed in the next point.