The London 2012 Olympics will be winding down this weekend, but there’s still plenty of action to enjoy from now until Sunday! In addition to the edge-of-our-seats excitement of the events themselves, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed exploring the architecture and design that the Games have spawned. Fortunately for us, (and our fellow design lovers) many of the structures and art installations will remain long after the Games have ended.

Today, we’re taking a look at one of the most distinctive Olympic buildings created for this year’s events- the London Aquatics Centre, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. Arch Daily describes the building as,

inspired by the fluid geometries of water in motion, creating spaces and a surrounding environment that reflect the riverside landscapes of the Olympic Park.

 

We love when a concept is carried so gracefully and thoughtfully through a structure, and it’s true that the London Aquatics Centre resembles nothing so much as an undulating wave. But what is really notable about the structure is its flexibility.

We’ve talked a lot about “architecture for people” lately, the idea that architecture shouldn’t just look cool- it should uphold its aesthetic duties while also fulfilling the social, emotional, and physical needs of the people it serves. The Aquatic Centre does so in a remarkable way, by using temporary, removable wings in order to provide adequate seating for the high volume of Olympic spectators.

After the Games are over, these wings can be removed, allowing the structure to begin its new “Legacy” mode, wherein the seating and layout are more appropriate for its post-Olympics life as a city aquatics facility. Buildings that were unusable or ill-planned for post-Olympics use have been a real problem for other host cities in the past, with many of the structures either languishing neglected for years or being torn down, creating massive waste. We love that this beautiful example of contemporary architecture have a better chance of making a lasting, and positive, impression on the communities of East London.

As Boston architects and interior designers, we strive to make our projects sustainable and flexible, allowing them to be enjoyed by the occupants for years to come. What do you think of the London Aquatic Centre? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

photos: Zaha Hadid Architects (1, 2), Wikipedia