Olympic Arena: Experience Architecture

Not all my good links, insights and thoughts are lifted off the Twittersphere. Despite having my eyes on over 1000 people now, this little gem came from my brother. He’s had his nose in a few forums, tracking the progress of our developing city – notably the skyscrapers and Olympic village – and he drew my attention to this work in the East End.

The handball arena is finished…. tumbleweed….

Which is kinda my point. It’s a beautiful wee building, clad in copper and with top-spec light-wells in the ceiling but it’s for a sport that has a pretty fringe interest at least in the UK (in spite of efforts) and it’s global popularity is a moot point. Perhaps because of this, the inclusion in the 2012 games in London means that the organisers might fear a repeat of the empty seats we saw in Beijing and have uncovered an innovative solution which also adds a legacy benefit for a stadium unlikely to get capacity crowds easily.

Coloured seats. It’s already used at the Estádio Municipal de Aveiro, Portugal and now it’s in the  Handball Arena, the idea being that – even when partly occupied – the stadium looks more full as glaring solid blocks of coloured seating are not visible. The consequence is that the stadium for players and fans feels more atmospheric in low-crowd situations. It’s just simply good experience design that makes use of our visual attention biases.

As a footnote, the arena will also be used for modern pentathlon events.

> Mark Small’s blog article on 2012 Entrepreneurial designs
> The 2012 update: Handball arena nears completion

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