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News Link • Entertainment: Sports

How to Construct the Lightest, Most Open Olympic Stadium Ever Built

•, By Tim Newcomb

If you’re hoping for a new version of the Bird’s Nest, the Olympic stadium that wowed spectators in Beijing in 2008, then you’ve come to the wrong games. For this year's Olympics, beginning tomorrow, London went subdued. Critics have described the new Olympic Stadium as "a bowl of blancmange" and "pretty underwhelming," but its design is highly intentional: London's Olympic Stadium is the lightest, most flexible and most sustainable ever built.

Olympic stadiums have typically been grandiose palaces of concrete and steel, built to last forever—even if their original purpose doesn't last longer than two weeks. Beijing's Bird's Nest is designed to last for 100 years, but London's is proud of its temporary nature. Even the bolts holding the steel together aren't covered up, since they'll just be removed anyway.

But the designers had make sure the structure had all the benefits necessary to keep the playing conditions perfect for the athletes. By using wind tunnel testing, computer models and unique fabrics, the temporary stadium for the London Olympics plays like a permanent structure--even though it's anything but. 

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