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Work starts on 2012 Olympics Media Centre

Building work started over a month early on the foundations of the huge International Broadcast Centre for the London 2012 Games with construction now underway on the ‘big five’ Olympic Park venues.

 The Olympic Park ‘big build: foundations’ is on track with the Olympic Stadium, Aquatics Centre and Olympic Village already taking shape and the foundations of the Velodrome well underway.

Work has started sinking 2,100 concrete piles up to 24m into the ground to form the foundations of the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) and Main Press Centre (MPC) for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games which will create just under 900,000 sq ft of business space in legacy with the potential to generate thousands of new jobs.

The IBC/MPC will support around 20,000 broadcasters, photographers and journalists communicating the Games to an audience of four billion people worldwide.

This summer work will start on the steel frame of the IBC, which is 275m long, 104m wide, 21m tall and big enough to house five jumbo jets. Over 4,500 tonnes of steel with trusses up to 24m long are being produced and fabricated for the IBC in Dalton, North Yorkshire. Work is also underway on the media transport mall and the foundations of the MPC are due to start this month.

ODA Chief Executive David Higgins said: ‘The ‘big build’ is right on track as we make steady progress on the venues and infrastructure needed both for the London 2012 Games and the regeneration of this part of east London.

‘The Olympic Stadium, Aquatics Centre and Olympic Village are already taking shape against the skyline and building started earlier this year on the Velodrome. With the start of construction of the IBC/MPC all of the ‘big 5’ venues on the Olympic Park are now underway.

‘The IBC/MPC will provide a quality working environment for media during the Games while delivering flexible employment space for a range of potential legacy tenants and users.’

Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the London 2012 Organising Committee, said: ‘This is a significant step towards the provision of the best possible working environment and technology for the 20,000 members of the world’s broadcasters, press and photographers in the summer of 2012. Millions of people around the world rely on the international media to relay the stories of human endeavour on the field of play. The impressive facilities we have planned will give us the best possible foundations for telling all the stories from the London 2012 Games whilst leaving high performance workspace for the east of London.’

Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell said: ‘Construction of the Olympic site continues to make excellent progress and with work on the media centre now underway the Park is really starting to take shape. The media centre will provide top quality facilities for the thousands of press who will be in London during the Olympic and Paralympic Games beaming the story of the 2012 Games across the world.

‘After the Games the media centre will be an exciting new office space with state-of-the-art digital technology, providing a unique opportunity for those looking to be part of the new urban park that will be created in legacy.’

Elected Mayor of Hackney Jules Pipe said: ‘We are pleased that the IBC/MPC will provide vital employment space in Hackney Wick after the Games, enabling the expansion of the digital, media and creative industries that are already thriving in east London. We’re working hard to influence the designs of the media centres to secure the best possible legacy for our borough.’

Big build: Olympic Stadium

  • Construction started just 11 months ago and work is well underway on the roof as the 53m high Olympic Stadium takes shape in the east London skyline. Eight of the 30m-long steel sections of the roof compression truss have been lifted into place
  • Over 4,000 concrete columns have been sunk into the ground to form the foundations
  • Work is also progressing to install the 40m-long steel terracing supports, known as rakers, to hold the 55,000 seats in the upper tiers.
  • Concrete rakers and 12,000 pre-cast concrete terracing units will make up the lower bowl which holds the 25,000 permanent seats within the StadiumThe first of five bridges on to the 40 acre Stadium island has been lifted into place.

Big build: Aquatics Centre

  • Construction started two months ahead of schedule last summer and work is underway on the wave-shape roof, one of the most complex construction and engineering challenges on the Olympic Park.
  • Over 1,400 concrete columns have been sunk into the ground to form the foundations of the legacy building and Games time temporary seating.
  • The first section of the 2,800 tonne steel roof is being lifted into place and connected together 20m off the ground on three rows of temporary support trestles.
  • When complete the 160m long column-free and up to 90m wide roof will be lifted up to two metres, the temporary trestles removed, and the frame rested into place on two concrete supports at the northern end and a 28m long and 5m wide, supporting ‘wall’ at its southern end.
  • The huge completed southern roof support is 9m high, 28m long, over 5m wide and was built using 850m³ of concrete.
  • The north-east roof supports have reached 12m and are currently being completed.

Big build: Olympic Village

  • Construction started less than a year ago and buildings are coming out of the ground.
  • More than 2,400 concrete columns have been installed to complete the foundations of four residential blocks.
  • Construction work is underway on the third-floor levels of the first residential block and structural work has started on the ground-floor levels of two further residential blocks
  • Infrastructure works have been completed on a concrete tunnel covering half a mile of railway line, allowing access across the Village site from north to south.
  • Work is already underway to install new electricity, gas, water, drainage and district heating services between the sites of the new housing blocks.

Big Build: Velodrome

  • Construction started on track last month on the foundations of the Velodrome.
  • Work is underway installing over 900 concrete columns to form the foundations of the venue which is being built on the site of the former West Ham tip.

Big Build: IBC/MPC

The IBC/MPC combines an innovative mixture of permanent and temporary elements during the Games and has been designed to be as flexible as possible to accommodate a range of potential legacy tenants and uses. The London Development Agency is leading the legacy planning. A planning application for the foundations has been granted and an application submitted for the detailed design of the IBC/MPC and media transport mall. Construction is underway on the foundations of the IBC and media transport mall on the 370,000 sq metre site.

The MPC includes:

  • 29,000 square metres of green office space by the River Lea Navigation, providing four storeys of workspace for journalists and photographers during the Games.
  • Innovatively designed flexibility that enables the building to be adapted in legacy for either a single tenant in the whole building or on each floor, as well as multiple tenants on each floor.
  •  A connected single strip of single storey buildings facing the canal that can be separated into ‘mews’ accommodation in legacy offering another type of quality business space in legacy.
  • State-of-the-art utilities, power and digital connectivity during the Games and in legacy.
  • Innovations designed to meet demanding green building standards in legacy including a 2,500 sq m ‘brown roof’ of gravel and moss to encourage invertebrates; 60 per cent of non-drinking water to be collected from across the Olympic Park; habitats including over 100 bird and bat boxes.

The IBC includes:

  • around 52,000 square metres of studio space of two 8-10m high floors during the Games with a temporary gantry running along the building for technical equipment. • 8000 square metres of offices over five floors at the front of the building.
  • The flexibility in legacy to be separated into a number of units and for design features to be altered such as cladding replaced with windows. Temporary Games time elements, most of which reduce the Games and legacy transformation costs, include:
  • A 12,000 square metre catering village serving 50,000 meals a day 24 hours.
  • A 200 metre long High Street between the MPC and IBC featuring outlets such as banks, newsagents, travel agents and a post office.
  • A temporary Media Conference room between the IBC and MPC for up to 800 journalists.

A Media Transport Mall providing coach drop-off and car parking, accreditation and security screening during the Games will be halved in legacy to provide car parking spaces to legacy tenants alongside walking, cycling and public transport connections.

The London Development Agency (LDA) is leading on the legacy uses of the media centre site. This has included working closely with the ODA to ensure the flexibility of legacy plans fit in with Games-time arrangements.

Tom Russell, Group Director for Olympic Legacy at the LDA, said: ‘The media centre site will become a major employment driver in legacy with a main focus on the creative industries, while also looking at higher educational use. The majority of the infrastructure being put in at the moment is for the long term use of the area and will therefore play an important role in the post 2012 development.’

  • Carillion is building the IBC/MPC. Their previous projects include Government Communications HQ, the News International printing operation and the regeneration of a 138-acre site in Swindon. The design team is made up of Allies and Morrison, Buro Happold and RPS Group Burks Green.
  • The 4,500 tonnes of steel for the IBC frame is being fabricated by Severfield-Reeve in Dalton, North Yorkshire and produced and rolled by Corus in Scunthorpe and Teesside.
  • The Government Olympic Executive announced in January 2008 that following cost reductions of £25 million, the total public funding for the IBC/MPC will be £355 million which will all be met from the existing ODA budget.


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