Architect Behind London's Olympic Park is Creating a "Party" Atmosphere for the Rio Games in 2016

Category: Media & Culture / Nov 08, 2012 2:24PM EDT
Architects designing the main Olympic Park site for Rio De Janeiro 2016 hope to produce an area that reflects Brazilian culture but also ensures a party atmosphere when the biggest show on earth comes to town. With London now resigned to history, plans are well advanced for the next Olympic and Paralympic Games with work underway in the Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood of the city. The proposed Olympic Park will be built on the old Jacarepagua's race track, once the site of the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix. The area is a triangular layout spread over 300 acres and looks out to the striking blue water lagoons with the famed rugged mountains forming back part of a stunning backdrop. International Architects Studio Aecom won the bid to design Rio's Olympic Park. Based in Holborn in London, Aecom have very recent history with the Olympics as they were also responsible for designing London's much-heralded Olympic park in Stratford. Fifteen sports are set to be based at Rio's Olympic Park, including swimming, hockey and tennis, with a further 11 Paralympic competitions in 34 venues on the site. A media centre, capable of accommodating 20,000 journalists, and the Olympic and Paralympic Villlages are also located in the Barra Zone. In an interview with Reuters, Bill Hanway, 51, who led Aecom's Rio bid to win the contract, described the inspiration for the design and his company's hopes for Rio's Park. "This is a simple representation, in many ways, of the street patterns of Roberto Burle Marx, who was a famous designer, landscape designer, that did all the sort of very interesting black and white street patterns of Copacabana Beach and Ipanema. And we've sort of transformed the scale into something more powerful. We're also trying to reflect the ideas of rivers flowing through the Brazil rainforests and so a lot of those things start to develop the idea of the design," Hanway said on Tuesday (November 6) as he talked Reuters through a small model of the proposed design. "In terms of how this operates, we will have the majority of visitors coming from the north end of the park, transforming their way through all their way through down to the bottom to something that is called the "live site", which will have capacity for about 10 to 15 thousand people, having a major party down on the waterfront. To have big open screens, have concerts. "So in terms of how we reflect Brazilian culture, it's very much about the sports and the Olympics, but also we want this to be one of the greatest parties on earth and that will be how we develop that and how we deliver that." Unlike the London Games, the main Olympic stadium is not on the park site. The famous Brazilian football stadium, the Maracana, will host the opening and closing ceremonies while the Joao Havelange Stadium - home to the club soccer side Botafogo - is also being used during the Games. The Olympic Village will take shape in an area called Vila Autodromo, an impoverished community that sits right next to the site where the Olympic Village will rise. Officials in Rio want to move the area's residents to new housing nearby. The Maria Lenk Aquatic Centre, built for the Pan American Games in 2007, is one of the Olympic venues already in place for the Games. But a number are set for construction from scratch and the International Olympic Committee has expressed some concern over the speed of progress. The proposals and designs look strong on paper but the success or failure of Rio's Olympics will depend on the reality and all parties are confident a positive result will be achieved.