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Olympics inspire construction of many unique venues in Brazil

Reporter: Stephen Gibbs 丨 CCTV.com

08-15-2016 15:24 BJT

Full coverage: 2016 Rio Olympics

Many see the Olympics as a celebration of human achievement, not only in sports, but in other aspects as well. One of those is architecture. And Rio 2016 has inspired the construction of a number of unique buildings in the host city.

The architectural masterpieces of the modern Olympics. It is an impressive portfolio, going back over a century. To name just a few: Amsterdam Olympic Stadium, Helsinki Velodrome, Cortina Ski Jump and Beijing ‘Birds Nest’ National Stadium.

Rio’s Olympic Park, designed by a British firm, had, from the start, less grand ambitions. The brief was to make many of the buildings re-usable.

The handball court is an example of what is called nomadic architecture. After the Games, it will be entirely dismantled, and its materials used to help build four schools.

One theme throughout the park is its curved forms—reminiscent of the architecture of Brasilia, Brazil’s modernist capital—largely designed by the famed Oscar Niemeyer. He died, aged 104, four years ago.

“We have Niemeyer, which is our ‘God,’ we could say, as an architect, and I feel when I look at the Olympic Park, I feel that we have a perfume of Niemeyer there,” said Carla Camurati, Rio 2016 cultural director.

But Oscar Niemeyer’s nephew, who is also an architect, is somewhat lukewarm about the design quality of the Olympic Project. “It’s just a tennis court,” he says of one of the buildings. But he does admire the three conjoined arenas, where events such as the basketball and judo are taking place.

“I really liked these because looking at the three buildings, they are very well-proportioned, and form a beautiful complex,” said Joao Niemeyer, architect.

While the architectural merit of the park is disputed, all seem to agree is that another part of the city has been transformed by the Olympics.

As part of these games Rio’s port has been entirely re-planned and remodeled. That involved first demolishing an ugly 1950s high-rise motorway that once passed through its historic center. In its place there is now a brand new pedestrian boulevard, one of the social hubs of this Olympics.

“Now even the Niteroi Bridge, here, is beautiful. Before you couldn’t see it,” Joao Niemeyer said.

Back at the Olympic Park, there are festivals every night in the shadow of the stadiums. Unlike in previous Olympics, we know that much of this will be dismantled after the Games. Those here are enjoying it while it lasts.

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