< Back to front page Text size +

Olympic Villages of Old

Posted by Josh Rothman  July 31, 2012 09:01 PM

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

Over at Design Observer, Anisha Gade has put together an interesting slideshow of Olympic villages past. Host nations invest in huge Olympic villages because they hope that, after the games, the buildings can be put to re-used in a productive (and remunerative) way; the fate of past Olympic villages shows that it's far from a sure bet. Meanwhile, though, the architecture of the Olympic village is interesting in itself: "While signature stadiums like Beijing’s Bird’s Nest (Herzog & de Meuron, 2008) and London’s Olympic Stadium (Populous, 2012) grab the headlines, the urban form of the Olympic Village is often overlooked."

Some of the buildings in London's Olympic Village use friezes based on the Elgin Marbles.
(Photo: Niall McLaughlin Architects.)

Today's Olympic villages turn out to be a big step up from the Olympic Villages in previous games:

In the early Olympiads, there was no need for official athlete housing. Only 241 competitors took part in the 1896 Athens ceremonies -- a far cry from the 17,000 expected in London this summer. At the 1928 Amsterdam games, athletes were accommodated in spare rooms in boarding houses and aboard ships. The first Olympic Village was built in 1932, in the Baldwin Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, but it was dismantled after the games and virtually no trace survives today. Not until the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki did host cities began to plan and develop permanent structures for housing athletes.

Check out the whole slideshow at Design Observer.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
Brainiac blogger Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached here.

Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.

Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.

Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.

Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.


Browse this blog

by category