The Olympic Aquatics Center by Zaha Hadid Architects; Photos: hufton + crow
Everyone knows the best part of the Olympics are the swimming events, especially the diving contests. But a design flub courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects will spoil the experience for hundreds, perhaps, thousands of ticket holders. As the Guardian reports, the view from the upper sections of the bleachers to the torpedoing bodies will be partially obscured by the bulging ceiling of Zaha's Aquatics Center. In response to the mishap, organizers have begun offering refunds for upwards 4,800 tickets for each of the eight 10m diving events scheduled for this summer's Games.
For spectators seated in the 600 designated areas, high-board divers will briefly disappear from view right at the crucial moment of take off. LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) will message those affected offering them three options, each of which include a 100% refund: request the reimbursement up front and lose the seat or after attending part or even all of the event. Seems charitable, right? Not really, considering the fact that the seats (300 on each side) were never originally intended to be filled until this past spring, when LOCOG reversed the decision following test events. Safe to say, this probably isn't the first time that Zaha or parametric architecture took the fun out of things.
Update: ZHA denies that the design had anything to do with the ticket refunds, this even after a LOCOG spokesperson had commented that the "angle and curve of the aquatic centre roof" did indeed obscure views of the 10m diving events from the flagged seating areas. As BDonline now reports, LOCOG seems to have played down the exact number of the seats in question, now saying that only a "very small component" of the ticket holders would have to resort to big screens to catch each dive in its entirety.
A ZHA rep countered the yesterday's reports saying that "LOCOG approved the sightline studies and seating layouts over two years ago."
Section of the Aquatics Center; Drawing: ZHA via BDonline