Freedom of information request reveals jury’s comments on £303m Olympic aquatics centre

The jury which chose Zaha Hadid’s design for the 2012 aquatics centre warned that the controversial plans faced “clear technical and organisational issues” before its selection.

Aquatic Centre

The panel, which included Lord Rogers and Ricky Burdett, found during the judging process in 2005 that the “detail of the scheme was not as well developed” as its competitors, and warned of “maintenance concerns” regarding the use of a timber roof in a pool environment.

It also said the £303m building, which has been significantly redesigned since the competition win, had not been “well thought-through” in terms of its legacy use.

But the panel found that Hadid’s “seductive” designs were preferable to the “practical approach” taken by Bennetts Associates, and the “functionally mundane” designs by Faulkner Browns.

The aquatics centre has been the 2012 Olympics’ most controversial building, with reports of its spiralling budget, continuous redesigns and legacy concerns rarely out of the headlines. The 2005 comments were revealed in a freedom of information request made by the Guardian newspaper.