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2012 designer dismisses 'dull' stadium claims


LONDON 2012's main stadium designer this week hit back at claims that the venue will be dull because it is being constructed under a design and build contract.

HOK Sport senior principal Rod Sheard also dismissed claims that his team's early designs risked creating an unsustainable structure.

HOK Sport, structural engineer Buro Happold and contractor Sir Robert McAlpine was chosen as preferred bidder for the stadium after the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) scrapped plans for a short list (NCE 19 October).

The ODA also decided against holding a design competition for the venue.

The project's most vociferous critic is architect Richard Rogers who has said that without a design competition London will fail to get a landmark venue.

'Sydney and Beijing Olympic stadiums were procured by a design/build tender and Wembley, Arsenal and Cardiff were all built as design/build contracts, so I didn't really understand what the problem is, ' said Sheard.

The preferred bidder team will submit a concept design before Christmas, followed by a detailed design in February 2007.

These will be examined by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment's (CABE) London 2012 design review panel before they are agreed by the ODA.

Some engineers have told NCE they fear Sheard's team will be encouraged by the panel to put design above sustainability because there is only one engineer (Hanif Kara of Adams Kara Taylor) on the CABE panel, which also includes Rogers.

It is feared that this could create problems similar to those faced by the Aquatics centre.

This was forced into a redesign after costs escalated. (News last week).

Sheard argued that innovative design and sustainability were not mutually exclusive.

He added: 'In fact to really achieve sustainability we have to be more innovative in our approach to design and we are certainly approaching the design of the stadium on that basis.'

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