Olympic Spectacle
EML 03 - 02 - 2010

Everyday, we are bombarded with examples spanning the three disciplines (and many more). Buildings, parks, cities, and cultures compose the basis of these experiences. They operate on a wide continuum, ranging from innovative and inspiring to unbelievably wasteful. Regardless of their location along this vast spectrum, there is always something worth learning. In that spirit, a discussion of the negative is worth having. Taking a critical eye to examine a failure is valid and crucial. It's about knowing what not to do. With that said, an introduction: The 2008 Olympics in Beijing were greatly anticipated. China put its best foot forward, cleaning up the city and developing an Olympic park to rival them all. How shocked were we to find the park--so majestically portrayed on NBC--in such a derelict state. With a heavy layer of smog obscuring the sun and dirt and grime everywhere, it was hard to imagine how much neglect the park must have sustained. The problem is a fundamental one and relates to numerous Olympic parks around the world. A massive complex is designed and built for a very specific and very short period of time. When the two weeks are up and the Olympics are over, what will this site be used for? Unfortunately, it is as if the master planners of Beijing's Olympic park neglected this question, assuming the various venues would have no trouble finding functions and filling seats. The Bird's Nest receives fairly regular guests, but the Water Cube and gymnastic stadium sit unceremoniously empty.

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