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Olympic village history and state of construction

January 8th, 2009 · 7 Comments

I got a chance this week to go around the Olympic village site under construction — quite a hike, by the way. It’s hard to understand how big a project this is until you actually walk around it. You can read my Globe story on that tour here.

It also has a very interesting feel to it — more like the West End than the point and tower openness of the north side of False Creek. The streets and spaces between buildings are quite narrow and the buildings are relatively low, so that it feels more enclosed and connected.

Design manager Roger Bayley told me that when he gives talks about the village to international audiences, that different look and feel is what they pick up on. Bayley also said the design is specifically meant to encourage more cross-connection among residents. Because they’re so close and their paths will intersect more in the common gardens, the staircases built on the ends of the glass-enclosed buildings, the streets and so on, the design will foster interaction.

It will be interesting to see, five years from now, whether that works out.

I also have a second story on how the village and city arrived at the financial situation they’re in now. It was interesting to go back and read the bid book from January 2003 and read how unequivocally the city stated that it would be responsible for the athletes’ village. That was back when we were all being assured the city was not taking on any risk, in the heady days when no one could imagine you could lose money building condos in Vancouver

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