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Posts Tagged ‘Olympics’

BY ZACH MORTICE

The ski jump tower is the focal point of the site. Photo by Marco Esposito/SWA.

Deployed with a small footprint, a light touch, and ample flexibility, the Alpensia Olympic Park in PyeongChang, South Korea, which is hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics cross-country skiing, biathlon, and ski jump competitions, is the result of clever planning by landscape architects.

Originally, the Gangwondo Development Corporation (the ultimate client for the facility) and the engineering and construction company Taeyoung planned to put these three venues into two separate valleys. But SWA’s Sausalito, California, office suggested that these venues could be consolidated into one valley across a single 350-acre site instead. SWA says it’s the most compact Winter Olympics design of its type ever.

This more compact plan preserved forested hillsides and helped compress athletes and observers into a bustling hub of activity with a carefully choreographed arrival sequence. “When the venues were distributed, it became harder and harder to not carve up so much of the land, and have the sense of place still be right for spectators and worldwide TV coverage,” says Marco Esposito, a principal at SWA.

SWA’s plan puts the ski jump and stadium to the west, and the cross-country and biathlon stadiums to the east. Linked by a central plaza, these stadiums and race routes orbit each other, (more…)

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BY ALEX ULAM

From Los Angeles, Charles Anderson tackles the site of a lifetime at the old Athens airport.

From Los Angeles, Charles Anderson, FASLA, tackles the site of a lifetime at the old Athens airport.

From the March 2016 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

The Hellinikon, an enormous area on the outskirts of Athens, Greece, is testament to how rapidly man-made forms literally can go to seed. From a hillside overgrown with unruly purple bougainvillea, you can see hundreds of structures in various states of decay across a vast expanse that terminates at a highway along the Aegean Sea. Just below, clumps of scrub grass have thrust their way up between stadium seating overlooking a complex of structures that includes a series of moldering concrete ramps built for a 2004 Summer Olympics kayaking event.

Near the decaying Olympic venues are the sprawling remains of the former Hellinikon International Airport. These include the ghostly, white-columned terminal for international flights designed by Eero Saarinen. Today, this modernist interpretation of Greek temple architecture is fenced off, and through the broken windows under its porticos, you can see rubble. The concrete runways are cracked, and they have large puddles, oases for seagulls and packs of wild dogs. Security guards cruise around in unmarked cars; they are the only other people anyone is likely to find on the grounds. Next to the terminal is a row of jets, several with retractable stairs attached. At first they look as though (more…)

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