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Journal cover: Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development

Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development

ISSN: 2044-1266

Online from: 2011

Subject Area: Built Environment

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Olympic stadiums in their urban environment: a question of design and cultural significance


Document Information:
Title:Olympic stadiums in their urban environment: a question of design and cultural significance
Author(s):Miranda Kiuri, (LEMA, Université de Liège, Liège, Belgium), Jacques Teller, (LEMA, Université de Liège, Liège, Belgium)
Citation:Miranda Kiuri, Jacques Teller, (2012) "Olympic stadiums in their urban environment: a question of design and cultural significance", Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 2 Iss: 2, pp.115 - 129
Keywords:Conservation, Cultural significance, Greece, Olympic stadiums, Town planning, Urban areas, Urban planning
Article type:Conceptual paper
DOI:10.1108/20441261211273626 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:This research has been funded by a post-doctoral grant offered to Miranda Kiuri by the University of Liège, Belgium.
Abstract:

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to analyse the relationship between Olympic stadiums and the urban environment. This relationship is considered as key to understanding the cultural significance of these exceptional event-based buildings. It helps to explain present challenges faced by their conservation and raises the issue of considering likely heritage values at the design stage of stadiums.

Design/methodology/approach – The analysis is based on a periodization of the relationship between Olympic stadiums and the urban environment. This periodization proposes a six stage typology, starting from the stadium of Olympia at the Hellenistic period. It combines an analysis of the stadium architecture itself and the integration of Olympic facilities within their urban setting and the city at large.

Findings – The article highlights that Olympic stadiums have progressively been isolated from the city environment they are located in. This isolation can both be observed at the scale of the building, through the progressive adoption of arena-shaped envelopes, and at the scale of the city through the clustering of Olympic facilities in campus-like sites. Although it can be explained by functional and city-marketing requirements, it is argued that this isolation will hamper an adaptive reuse of these facilities once the Olympic event is over. It is further suggested that the conservation of Olympic stadiums should be considered at the design stage of these buildings, considering their potential outstanding socio-cultural values.

Research limitations/implications – This research is based on the analysis of Olympic stadiums solely. It may have been completed and refined by a comparison with other stadiums, especially those dedicated to football competitions. It means that the research results are closely related to a very specific type of stadium, which is designed for a once in lifetime a time event, repeated throughout the world every four years.

Originality/value – The main originality of the work consists in the combination of a building- and a settlement-oriented typology within the periodization. It has been further considered that considering the stadium of Olympia at the Hellenistic period within the typology would help to better describe a general movement from opened- to closed-stadium environments that definitively finds its roots in the Greek Antiquity.



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