Why the Paris Olympics Will Be a Modest Showcase of Wood Architecture

By Feargus O’Sullivan and Jenny Che
March 9, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

There’s something highly unusual about the new Olympic Aquatics Center on the outskirts of Paris. It’s not just the building’s striking form, with its massive, Pringle-shaped solar roof. It’s not solely that the 5,000-seat venue, constructed mainly from wood, was pieced together like a Lego set. It’s also the fact that the center, designed by architecture firms Ateliers 2/3/4/ and VenhoevenCS, will be the main architectural icon for a Summer Games that is actively trying not to build them. …But Paris 2024 wants to make sustainability, rather than monumental construction, its chief legacy. Compared to the pharaonic projects of the past, the aspiration might seem almost perverse. The Olympic Village, north of Paris, will be an eco-quarter where all buildings under eight floors will be made from wood and glass… using more wood in new construction — including the advanced wood components known as mass timber — is expected to play a significant role as well. 

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