The 2012 London Olympics emphasized openly their planned structural and ideological legacy efforts. New construction methods, environmentally friendly technologies and building re-usability were employed to keep the event’s footprint as light as possible and to guide how it would be viewed in the future. But is it possible to predict or plan the legacy of such an event?
This is the question “After the Party – The Legacy of Celebration” addresses. Curated by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the exhibition evaluates the structural legacies of past celebratory events and how they can be compared to London 2012.
“After the Party – The Legacy of Celebration” juxtaposes a large collection of buildings that left a lasting impact after fulfilling their initial purposes, sometimes becoming more iconic than the events that prompted them. The exhibition begins with a model of the Olympic Park. Main nodes of the east London campus, like the Arcelor Mittal Orbit designed by Anish Kapoor, are described and their functions explained. Earlier events and their architecture follow.
The Eiffel Tower is the most famous example shown. It was built for the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris but was left standing and eventually became an indispensable symbol for the entire country. The Millennium Bridge in London–enabling pedestrians crossing of the River Thames since 2000 – and the Arc de Triomphe in Paris–built to commemorate French victories in battle are among the projects presented and explained. With these as a backdrop, visitors can ponder how London 2012’s pre-planned legacy and buildings might fare over the time.
RIBA is located at 66 Portland Place in London. The exhibition runs until November 27th, Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pm; and until 10pm on Tuesday. Admission is free.