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Architect pours water on Games plan

PUBLISHED: 15:20 02 March 2007 | UPDATED: 08:48 21 July 2010

AN architect is warning that the 2012 Olympic Games site faces serious risk of flooding because of flawed design. David Mackay, who was involved in designing the 1992 Olympics village in Barcelona, has criticised organisers of the London Games...

AN architect is warning that the 2012 Olympic Games site faces serious risk of flooding because of flawed design.

David Mackay, who was involved in designing the 1992 Olympics village in Barcelona, has criticised organisers of the London Games for not making the best use of the land earmarked for 2012 and says they face potential flood risks as a result.

He also says the site is too cramped and the venues could flood because they are being built near river banks.

"The site is probably the most crowded Olympic site in the history of the Games," said Mr Mackay.

"The Olympic village is to be accommodated within 20 hectares. This is compared to the athletes' village and facilities in Barcelona which were spread over 80 hectares.

"Also, the structures within the Olympic site are so dense that in several cases they are up against meandering rivers."

Mr Mackay, who is a partner at Barcelona-based MBM Arquitectes, knows the lower Lea Valley area well. His company was commissioned to create a regeneration plan for the area, which was due to go ahead before London entered the Olympic race.

He says that although their plans were put on hold, their design had needed to include precautionary measures because the area is prone to flooding and has several areas of marshland.

He says those plans had coped with the problem by providing more surfaces for the water, in the form of rivers and lakes. He believes they would leave a better Games legacy than the decision by the 2012 designers to build up the land.

A spokesman for the Olympic Delivery Authority, which is responsible for the venues, infrastructure and legacy, refutes the claims, saying they have been "extremely cautious" when it comes to protecting against flooding.

He says they have designed the site and venues to be able to cope with floods above and beyond what has been seen in the lower Lea area in the last 100 years and hav also allowed for a 20 per cent increase in river flow.

He adds that they have even accounted for any rise in sea levels as a result of climate change.

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