London's Olympic Stadium

Unlike so many other large-scale construction projects, the Olympic Stadium was finished ahead of schedule, within budget and well in time for all the preparations before the 2012 Olympic Games. The Olympic Stadium was the focal point of the Olympic Park, which spans an area of over 500 acres (approximately 202 hectares) and will be the site of seven other Olympic venues.

Before the building work could start, the site for the Olympic Stadium had to be cleared. This meant that 30 existing buildings had to be demolished and over 800,000 tonnes of soil had to be excavated and removed. Populus were the Architects in charge of the design and construction of the Olympic Stadium and they made sure that consideration was given to using as much recycled material from the land clearance as possible. In the end, over 6,500 cubic metres of crushed reused concrete was utilized in the foundations of the stadium. More than 2,500 tonnes of steel tubing was reclaimed from old gas pipes and this was put to use in the roof of the new stadium. Overall, 10,000 tonnes of steel have gone into the building of this impressive structure which is significantly less than in any other Olympic Stadium.

It was decided that the Olympic Stadium would be situated on an island site. This area is surrounded on three sides by water and must be accessed via five bridges on foot. The island occupies 40 acres, or just over 16 hectares and the stadium is clearly visible from Stratford Station. London's new Olympic Stadium takes on an ovoid or slightly elongated circular form. It is 314 metres long and 256 metres wide. The height from the internal field area is 60 metres (almost 200 feet) and the perimeter of the stadium covers 860 metres, which is about half a mile.

The Olympic Stadium was used to host all the athletics events as well as the impressive Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Internally, the stadium had over 700 rooms and there was capacity for 80,000 spectators during the Olympics and Paralympics. Athletes competed for medals on a 400 metre track and they were also be able to make use of an 800 metre warm-up track zone. Field events took place on turf that was grown in Scunthorpe.

The architects anticipated that the famous British weather might put a dampener on the spectacle of the Games, so they placed a total of 112 white material panels, which were installed by abseilers, and a cable net roof on the stadium to keep conditions stable for the athletes. Around two thirds of spectators benefited from being under cover.

Once the Games finished, the upper seating tiers were removed and bids were sought for its future use. The winning bid was received from West Ham United Football Club and British Athletics so the stadium is now their new home, with a capacity of 60,000.