Will Sochi Olympics Architecture Win Gold?
The Olympics start today, and one thing viewers are excited to see that isn’t an event is the architecture of the facilities. At a price tag of $50 billion, they are the most expensive games in history. The president of the Sochi chapter of the Union of Russian Architects says the city has been transformed.
This is the first Winter Games designed as part of a master plan, but with stories of two toilets in a stall, and facilities for previous Olympics around the world going unused, what will be the legacy of the buildings at Sochi?
Interview Highlights: Jerry Anderson
On the future of the Sochi stadium
“When we designed this, we worked with a lot of Russian officials that were already thinking about the future of the entire Sochi area. And the Olympics, for them, is an economic generator. When we designed the stadium in particular, we designed it essentially for 30,000 seats, but with areas where we could add temporary seats to go up to about 44,000 to 45,000 seats. And that works for the Olympics, the bigger number, and it also works for the World Cup. And in that time, we also knew Russia would be bidding for the World Cup in 2018, and so they were already thinking with us about the World Cup, as being a future site there.”
On his firm’s design concept
“The concepts we use now are to build as much temporary as possible. The permanent venues we design need to have a strong legacy, a strong afterlife, if you will. The buildings that remain in Sochi do have a legacy plan, for the most part, of sport or gathering facilities and really enhancing, for the Russian culture, a place to train and to recreate. And they’ve developed a whole new resort and residential complex right there in Sochi within that master plan.”
On earlier criticism the stadium wouldn’t be ready in time
“I’ve got some of my team over there now, they’re telling me it’s ready. It’s taken a whole ‘nother shape from what that building will become, because it’s set up for opening ceremonies. So actually, what you see now is not what you’re gonna see in a year from now, in terms of a finished building. But it’s ready. Let’s go!”
- Jerry Anderson, senior principal architect and the founder of Populous, the architectural firm that designed the facilities for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.