Wednesday, 3 November 2010

It's a wrap. Or possibly not.

The AJ reports Lord Coe defending, and architect Rod Sheard attacking, the decision to leave out the 'wrap' which was to have formed the cladding to the whole of the outside of the 2012 main stadium below the roof structure.

This issue was already being discussed when the above photo was taken in July, and at that time it was already looking like a bad idea to leave out the wrap.

The back of Piano and Rogers' Pompidou Centre in Paris is an example of a building facade without a wrap. It still looks good, because everything that was revealed was designed to be seen, and worked out accordingly - a visual effect achieved at considerable expense - money well spent as far as the architecture is concerned, but costlier than providing a 'wrap' covering it all up, and letting the services subcontractors do what they want behind it.

At the stadium site this summer, large amounts of miscellaneous kit were already being installed in the void below the seating, and it was obvious that it had not been designed with a view to looking good - it had the look of equipment laid out pragmatically with little thought to its appearance. At the time, it was still undecided as to whether it would be visible or not.

Expect to see a lot of electrical trunking and suchlike in plain view if you visit in 2012 - and probably some ad hoc advertising opportunities to cover up any particularly unfortunate consequences of this decision. Maybe the RIBA should take one: 'Should have listened to the architect'.

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