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Architecture of transformation – London 2012; Modular capsules system

Part 2 Project 2009
Jerzy Wianecki
Gdansk University of Technology Gdansk Poland
The project focuses on the transformation process of a field hockey stadium for the London 2012 Olympic Games using a modular capsules system.

Construction of the Olympic Park and sports facilities has become a pretext for the revitalization of one of the poorest parts of London. The legacy of the Games has become the main concern for the organizers. What will be left for the city after the Olympics?

Specific programme of the main hockey facility which will accommodate 15.000 spectators goes hand in hand with the planned revitalization policy. After the Games the capacity of the stadium will be reduced to 5.000 spectators in order to meet the expected popularity of the venue.

While designing this “shrinking stadium” I have decided to take the ideas of temporariness and controlled lifespan of the building even further and create a structure which wouldn’t just be disassembled after the Games but which could actually be reused.

In order to achieve this goal the stadium has been divided into two parts: permanent and temporary. The permanent part holds all the vital functions of the venue. The temporary part, in turn, needed for accommodating additional 10.000 spectators during the Games, consists of a set of self-sufficient rooms – modular capsules. These independent structures will be dismantled after the Games, transported to a new destination and assembled into complex buildings with new functions benefitting the Olympic district.

Irregular, non-cuboidal shape of the capsule enables assembling large capsule-based structures while allowing for diverse geometry creation. Designed modular buildings combine the quality of "stationary" architecture with the flexibility of modular systems. The form of the capsule provides hundreds of configuration possibilities while maintaining a consistent architectural language.

Developed examples of structures built with capsules are intended to demonstrate the variety of potential functions that may arise after the Olympics. Studio, single family home, dormitory. Each of these buildings presents a different aspect of the system: ease of construction and transportation, adaptability and complexity of possible combinations. Finally this open-ended system could be used as a base for the development of future, innovative building concepts.

Jerzy Wianecki

The main idea behind the project is the concept of sustainability in architectural design. The idea of sustainability in architecture, still disregarded or ignored by the students, hardly fights its way through purely aesthetic concept of architecture, shared by the majority. The Author goes beyond the narrow understanding of the concept of sustainability, reduced to implementation of more or less sophisticated environment friendly technologies or use of recycled materials.

Inspired by the rationale described in the guidelines for the London Olympics 2012, he developed an ambitious concept to consider sustainability as an art of multiple use of spatial structures through their combination and transformation. The project demonstrates an attempt to create and develop a system of transformable modular structures without compromising aesthetic values of its architecture. It has been nominated for Author’s consistency and maturity in searching for and investigating possibilities of transformable architecture.

The concept of a capsule as useful, repeatable module for changeable temporary functions was focused on designing a form, which could be distinctive, attractive and becoming easily embedded in memory (a recognizable symbol connoted with Olympics), avoiding at the same time crudeness and boring image of a container.


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