Olympic Choreography

The visually underwhelming London Olympics stadium, designed by HOK Sport, might actually be broken down into its constituent parts once the 2012 Summer Games are over and shipped off to Chicago – where it will be partially reassembled.
Perhaps this act will open the door to a new choreography of reused, plug-and-play architectural structures, with fragments of existing buildings being FedEx’d around the world to fit one into the other in a delirium of improvised building space. Cathedral pods and office modules meet in a haze of stadium seating and hobby lobbies on the outskirts of San Francisco. New rooms are trucked in from somewhere east of Reno.
You buy part of the London stadium for yourself and build a treehouse with it.
Of course, does this also imply that there could be architectural stowaways? Crossing borders and exploring the complex fringes of territorial sovereignty by hiding out within pieces of mobile architecture – riding conference halls and classrooms throughout the circuits of global commerce… before stepping out, like a scene from an Alfred Hitchcock film, onto the tropical streets of Manila. You then jump into a nearby taxi and disappear.
The taxi is then shipped to New York.
Where surrealism meets the postal service. Or perhaps surrealism is a kind of postal service, with objects popping up where they are not supposed to be.

11 thoughts on “Olympic Choreography”

  1. From the article: “The tactic of recycling the Olympic stadium has been billed as the first step in a new approach to the games, which could become more like a travelling circus to keep costs down.”

    Which might need a bit of qualification.

    Recycling Olympic stadiums isn’t exactly new. After the 1992 Winter Olympics, Albertville dismantled and recycled its temporary stadium (or would it be more precise to say “venue” — “the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies”) after the games.

    However, I’m not quite sure how it was recycled, i.e., whether parts of it was later re-assembled and re-used or everything was melted or grounded up and then molded into construction materials.

    But the structure was imagined as a traveling circus tent. There was that central pole, for instance. And the opening ceremony was modeled after Cirque du Soleil.

  2. What would happen if Somalian pirates got a hold of, say, the baseball stadium used during the Athens games, the one that after years of sitting idly in a country where baseball isn’t that popular, pissing off the government and the populace for being so expensive to maintain, it’s now being shipped to baseball-mad Japan?

    And they actually re-assemble it in the war ravaged landscape of the Horn of Africa.

    But even though they can handle the complexity of reconstructing a sports stadium, they can’t quite make heads or tails of the rules of the game. They might as well be reading the IRS tax code.

    They try anyway. Day after day after day after day.


  3. Actually, I once DID buy a part of a London stadium, right after the demolition of the famous old Wembley, when seats, bricks and boards were sold on eBay. I didn’t use it for a treehouse, though 😉

  4. Speaking of stowaways, imagine the insects or other vermin that would get a free ticket to Chicago or whatever the destination would be. There’s an olympic event – London rats vs Chicago cockroaches.

  5. Some friends of mine and I broke into the old Providence police station before it was demolished and found the complete remnants of the first Gravity Games stacked in the basement. They had gone on about a 1/4 mile down the road and it was decided for whatever reason to stow everything in the abandoned police station among all the rusty, used needles. Pretty odd.

    I think everything was destroyed with the building and cars park there now. My walk to work is completely different.

  6. This reminds me a bit of watching monumentally large crane apparatuses, shipped all the way from China where they were built, moving very slowly through Hamburg’s harbor on their way to be installed in the container terminals.

    Seeing that, I was definitely having visions of small skyscrapers being imported and exported. That’s how big and bizarre the cranes looked on the barges. It just didn’t quite look like it should’ve been possible to move them around at all, let alone completely assembled!

    Then last year, my cousin and I were driving through the harbor in Seattle. He pointed up at some eerily familiar looking cranes – and he started to tell me *exactly the same story* about seeing them shipped in from China across Puget Sound, and imagining people could transport entire buildings across the sea…

  7. On a micro scale, I have often thought subdivisions could be built with “basic houses” – 2 bedrooms, 2 baths – with spaces for plug in modules. One kind of module would be extra bedrooms for the kids. Another module would be a home office, or a woodworking shop. Or a one-car garage. When the kids were gone, the module gets replaced, with a different one, or just left vacant.

    As a neighborhood aged, adjacent houses would allow two modules to be joined to create a new, freestanding, address. Like a mother-in-law apartment. (“Doublewides”). Manufacturing quality would be much higher than current trailers. More like “premanufactured homes”, if you recognize the difference.

    On another, tougher and less politically correct tangent, we would need some form of screening (a behavioral FICO score?) to minimize some of the social effects of trailer park stereotypes.

  8. Or a ship carrying the Olympic Stadium to a new owner on the other side of the world runs aground on an atoll in the south Pacific – where it, and the ship that carries it, becomes absorbed into the reef over the span of three hundred years.

    It’s then later rediscovered, after a global apocalypse, by a group of Pacific islanders; the weird, coral-shrouded geometry of the stadium, like something from the paintings of Max Ernst, sits there in the tropical heat, its floodlights intact but unshining, its restrooms molded over, its structure visible but unclear beneath metastatic clumps of marine biology.

    Boating further afield beneath red mid-day skies, the islanders find another scuttled ship – and another, and another – all driven aground on atolls, each bearing architecture that was originally intended for elsewhere. Like a frozen metropolis at sea, this reef of buildings enters the islanders’ mythology; they hold rituals there – marriages and child births – and crown their new queen upon a throne of partially disassembled Aeron chairs, as the global trade winds slowly clear of radiation.

  9. Those Londoners have done this kind of thing before. Didn’t they sell the old London Bridge to some group who rebuilt it in Arizona. I’m not too sure what they use for the Thames, but I gather it’s still out there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.