Megastructures: London's Olympic Stadium

Megastructures: London's Olympic Stadium

London's Olympic Stadium

Sorry, this episode is no longer available to watch on Demand 5.

Find out why

With exclusive footage and interviews with those at the heart of the build, get an insight into the year’s most talked-about arena, a venue which will be showcase the athletics as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.

Olympic Stadiums are, by their very nature, pieces of architectural history. But this one is highly
distinctive. It was designed to be deconstructed. This is the world’s first 'demountable' Olympic Stadium. Though it has cost more than half a billion pounds to build, the top section will be dismantled after the games are over. The design enables the 80,000 seat arena to be scaled down to a 25,000 seat stadium if necessary. This in-built flexibility maximises its potential for meeting sporting and community needs in the future.

Hailed the "clever stadium" by its designer, Rod Sheard, the arena's ingenious form has introduced a number of brand-new architectural challenges, which put the design team under immense pressure as they worked against the clock. Using archive material, time-lapse photography, 3D computer graphics and compelling interviews with key personnel, we re-live the most dramatic moments of the construction process, including the erection of the cable-net roof and inner tension ring. Over half a kilometre in circumference, the roof is hoisted up as one huge piece.

Just as risky and dramatic is the erection of the 14 lighting gantries. Each of them is as high as a
five-storey building and together they weigh in at a massive 500 tonnes. If they are not balanced
correctly and installed in strict sequence, they could warp the entire roof.