Star architect wins aquatics centre competition for London’s Olympic bid

Pritzker Prize architect Zaha Hadid will design London’s Olympic Aquatics Centre, it has been announced today.

Hadid beat off a shortlist that included: Ken Shuttleworth’s practice Make with FaulknerBrowns; Bennetts Associates and Studio Zoppini; German sports specialist Behnisch, Behnisch and Partner; French firm Dominique Perrault Architecte; and Italian practice Massimiliano Fuksas.

Hadid’s plans for the centre, which includes two 50m swimming pools and a competition diving pool, is inspired by the flow of water and its riverside location in the Lower Lea Valley. The most striking feature of the venue is its sinuous S-shaped roof.

According to Lord Rogers, who sat on the panel along chair of Sport England Lord Carter of Coles and Ricky Burdett of the GLA’s architecture and urbanism unit, Hadid’s building “sets the standard for architecture quality in this key regeneration area.”

Chief executive of London 2012, Keith Mills, said “This is an outstanding design that will create a spectacular building, delivering the essential ‘wow’ factor for the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.”

The 20,000 seat centre will be turned into a space more suitable for community use, after the games, Mills added.

The centre will be built even if London is not selected to host the 2012 Games. The proposed location is a regeneration site in carpenters Road, Stratford. Hadid is working with Arup and Partners and pool architect S & P.

The winning architect’s design is considered as a new asset for London bid. Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said, “Zaha Hadid’s exceptional design gives a taste of just what we can offer and makes London’s bid to host the Games even more compelling.”