Rio’s Olympic Architecture

A week into the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, we’ve heard impressive stories of perseverance, rivalry and unity, as well as serious concerns regarding slum clearance and pollution. But what about the architecture? After all, architecture and town planning were once Olympic events in their own right. Filling this gap, The Guardian reviewed the...

Date

August 12, 2016

A week into the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, we’ve heard impressive stories of perseverance, rivalry and unity, as well as serious concerns regarding slum clearance and pollution. But what about the architecture? After all, architecture and town planning were once Olympic events in their own right. Filling this gap, The Guardian reviewed the architecture of the facilities. While few Olympic buildings are striking in terms of their aesthetics, the handball arena is notable for its innovative design, which enables the building to be dismantled and reconfigured as four schools, each with space for about 500 pupils. On the other end of the spectrum, the athlete’s village has been plagued by safety issues, flooding, mold and a host of other problems. Given that prior to the Olympics, the IOC described Rio 2016 preparation as the “worst ever“, it appears that while the architecture and development could be better, it could also have been worse. However, with a price tag that regularly exceeds 10 billion USD, a successful Olympic legacy requires a long-term city making strategy. Without such an approach, the Olympics can be a road to ruin.