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DESIGN FOR REUSE: Post Occupancy of Olympic Stadiums

17 May 2013 / in

Design for Reuse: Post Occupancy of Olympic Stadiums
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Fall 2012 MIT M.Arch Thesis
Advisor/Readers: Ana Miljacki, Arindam Dutta,
Miho Mazereeuw
Building Type: Field Hockey Stadium
Vocational School / Community Center

On the surface, the spirit of Olympic Games is about the competition for medals. Underneath the surface, however, lie a series of political, economic, and social agendas. Individual Olympians represent their Nations. Rising modernity, stabilization of economies and social cohesion of nations are represented by the contemporary Architecture of the Games. Every Olympic Game has resulted in a significant change in the host city and presented the host country with a unique opportunity to shed a new light on itself in front of a global audience. In anticipation of presenting a brilliant, dynamic image to the world, Olympic cities often build contemporary sporting arenas that follow similar design patterns of generating iconic and autonomous buildings with relatively fixed programs. In order for a city to accommodate such a large number of newly constructed sporting venues, a trend has emerged whereby cities shift the games from the urban core to outlying peripheries, scattered throughout the suburbs. After the 17 days of international use, the venues return to serve the host city’s needs. But the stadiums are largely freestanding objects that compete with pre-existing residential fields for the occupancy of local teams. These local teams often favor smaller arenas that are less maintenance-intensive and are more widely accessible due to their greater proximity to the city core. As a result, Olympic stadiums become underused, labeled as white elephants and even in some instances abandoned.

The next Olympics will be held in Rio, which has the 5th largest economy in the world while also having one of the world’s lowest GDP per capita. This thesis explores the possibility of exploiting the flamboyant nature of the Olympics to create a dual purpose field hockey stadium, the design of which is flexible enough to adapt to a post Olympics transformation into a vocational school.