The Summer Olympics in London are engulfed in the Pop-Up strategy of temporary venues. Some delightfully pleasing, others not so desirable. But Temporary Urbanism has found a solid place to evolve in events like the Olympics. Helping to solve many economic questions but not particularly planning and urban design solutions to problems. Let’s visit this idea as it finds its way into many cities across the world.
The London Olympics over the next two weeks will offer a high-profile showcase for this kind of architecture. Roughly a third of London’s new venues are temporary.
Over the last several years and accelerating noticeably since the 2008 economic collapse, a certain kind of unapologetically practical architecture has emerged in cities around the world.
Some of the buildings designed in this hyper-expedient style are meant to be temporary. Others are produced on a shoestring or fill spaces left vacant by the collapse of boom-era plans for grand buildings by world-famous architects.
But is this any way to build a city? Doesn’t this brand of architecture have implications for planning, preservation and urban design that we’ve barely begun to consider?
The London Olympics over the next two weeks will offer a high-profile showcase for this kind of architecture. Roughly a third of London’s new venues are temporary. Another handful, including the swimming and diving hall by Zaha Hadid and the main Olympic stadium by Populous and British architect Peter Cook, are designed to be radically downsized after the games are over.