SBD/Issue 202/Facilities & Venues

Architecture Critic Examines Chicago’s 2016 Olympics Plan

Some key aspects of Chicago’s plans for a potential 2016 Olympics bid are “bone-headed, ... especially its unprecedented call for having the Opening and Closing Ceremonies in side-by-side stadiums –- Soldier Field and a temporary, 80,000-seat track-and-field stadium,” according to CHICAGO TRIBUNE architecture critic Blair Kamin. The idea “brought a skeptical response” from the IOC, as Dir of Communications Giselle Davies said, “Such an idea would not be compatible with Games operations.” Kamin wrote the “overall plan does have good strokes, particularly for the city’s long-neglected south lakefront.” Having the majority of the Games along the lakefront is “both a strength and a potential weakness.” The shoreline is “the best face that this topographically challenged city can offer,” and the plan would place nearly 75% of the athletes within a mile of competition sites, which is “far better than having the Olympic Village downtown.” However, the lakefront also “promises traffic headaches because the area is poorly served by public transit.” The Chicago Convention Center is “no architectural showcase. ... It’s hard to imagine big chunks of an Olympics in Chicago, a mecca for architecture, in such a utilitarian location.” Also, would the temporary track-and-field stadium “really be temporary? ... If it did not come down, an almost-continuous wall of megastructures –-Soldier Field, the track and field stadium and the east building of McCormick Place -– would block the city from its shoreline” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/16).

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Facilities, IOC

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