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Guerilla Tactics Event, RIBA 2010

research, strategise & implement

© Copyright image used courtesy of Populous.

Architecture 00 was one of three architecture practices invited to take part in a ‘Live Pitch’ event as part of the ‘Guerilla Tactics’ conference organised by the Royal Institute of British Architects. It posed a hypothetical brief to think about the design of the temporary structures to be used at an international sporting event, to provide information, catering kiosks, shops and event venues around the stadium. Developed in collaboration with Momentum engineering, ‘Everyone’s Games’ is 00’s presentation to that panel of expert clients.

The merchandise is not the message

What will it be like to be in the crowd in 2012? A beautiful park, London in august, cameras, food, merchandise, thousands gathered to watch the world’s greatest athletes. All of those things - but of course what’s really happening is much bigger than even that.

Stills from the London 2012 bid video, 2005

What’s actually happening is an epic broadcasting event. For the 17 days of the olympic games, and 11 days of paralympic games, billions of people around the planet will be watching London. Most of the crowd will not even be there.

London 2012 Final Bid Video, 2005

But how we watch live broadcasts is changing. One example is ‘Henman hill’ at Wimbledon. A crowd of spectactors sharing the event who, even though they are not physically present on centre court, can say, ‘I was there, I was in the crowd’.

What if we were to take Henman Hill and go global? Opening a series of live, 360˚, video and audio links, connecting crowds watching the events outside the stadium with crowds gathered in major cities around the world. London, one of the world’s most international cities, would be the host of an unprecedented global event.

A ring of crowds around the games.

These telescopes would be arranged according to timezone. So during the weeks of the games, day and night would rotate around the stadium as the earth turns into the sun.

© Base image courtesy of Populous.

Visitors to the park would effectively be able to walk from ‘continent’ to ‘continent’. During specific events, one can imagine crowds would gather around particular telescopes (the telescope to Kingston, Jamaica, for example, during the men’s 100m sprint)

The core ‘architecture’ of the proposal therefore is not the physical structures themselves, but the infrastructure of the crowd: like drilling a series of ‘holes’ through the planet.

It’s an architecture which has only become technologically possible in the last few years, but one which is very loyal to the historic values of the olympic movement. For a month at least, we are all part of the same crowd, regardless of wealth, race or nationality.

What might the physical structures themselves look like? The approach is a kind of hyper-pragmatism: lightweight, low embedded-cost and embedded-carbon structures, which make the most of existing knowledge and hardware.

The elevation and tapering of the telescope surface acheives two things. Firstly, it allows for interaction on a scale which is both one-to-one and crowd-to-crowd.

Secondly, it liberates the base of the telescope to serve the specific needs of almost any programme. Why buy or build hardware which can be rented? Generic events kit can be accommodated into a zip-on enclosure.


The conventional delivery process is a convergent one, which begins with the architect’s design and brings others on board only as and when required in order to deliver that preconceived design.

In this case, the process could not be convergent, but one based on intensive early collaboration with delivery partners who already have the experience and ability to deliver this kind of project. It blends engineering, telecommunications and logistics, into a combined design / delivery team. The breadth of solutions would get wider before it reached a final resolution.

Because of the temporary nature of the proposal, an equally significant part of the project would be integrated into this process: what happens afterwards? What would be an appropriate strategy for the redeployment and ongoing legacy of the structures?

The key design principles are avoid, reduce and re-use. Only as a last resort would any part of the structure be recycled.

Many of the components can be rented, standardised components, which will have ongoing uses at other events such as the Glastonbury Festival.

Others, such as the seating around the telescopes, would have a role to play in the national legacy of the games. This is the ‘moon rock’ of London 2012.

TEAM Architecture 00 momentum engineering

THANKS TO Populous The Royal Institute of British Architects

Š Copyright Architecture 00 unless otherwise stated.

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Everyone's Games  

Architecture 00 was one of three architecture practices invited to take part in a ‘Live Pitch’ event as part of the ‘Guerilla Tactics’ confe...

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