panos nikolaidis design







Paris 2012 Olympic Landmark Competition entry


Paris’ Batignolle fallow industrial site rests impatiently awaiting the Olympic go ahead. This stationary state comes to an end once the Olympic landmark is located. The landmark becomes like France’s “kilometre zero” at Notre Dame’s square, an indicator of “point zero”. A point from which all Olympic action is to take place, the landmark itself is the first thing ever to be done for the Paris Olympics. A constantly flashing “0:00” is projected onto the Landmark’s glazed façade.
The Olympic Landmark’s presence informs the general public about Paris’ bid in the same way as the Notre Dame, built in an age of illiteracy retells the stories of the Bible in its portals, paintings, and stained glass. The landmark’s sixty metre high piercing roof top shoots up to pay homage to the never constructed Notre-Dame’s bell towers, rediscovering Paris’ skyline and challenging the Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower.
Reminiscent of the two revolutionary French architects, Ledoux and Boullee in their approach to the architectural ideal made through geometry, the landmark’s structure is restricted to the use of simple geometrical shapes. In plan, a perfect square in the stationary state of an archetypal shape outlines the landmark’s base. The project’s twirling main body involves the combination and distortion of simple geometric forms through addition and subtraction into a more complex evocative variation on the gothic stained glass window. The playful nature of its shape breaks its stationary state encapsulating the notion of “l’amour des jeux”.
The playfulness is carried through the rest of the site using the Paris 2012 logo. The site will grow to be the central Olympic Village and will house athletes from the world over. It would subsequently turn into a new neighbourhood in Paris. The Paris 2012 logo is transformed into an urban living room contributing to the neighbourhood spirit. With the raw concrete providing a solid industrial backdrop, bright blocks of colour forming the Paris 2012 logo appear into the ground. The logo becomes a 50 cm deep ground incision providing seating to the public around its edge.
Upon entry visitors have a clear route through the orientation but they are at the same time steered onto a more circuitous route through the garden / urban living room. The light applied to the landmark’s complex surface plays off reflection and transparency shifts as one moves towards it. The approach is epitomised by the use of metal red sheets that wrap around the landmark’s semi enclosed core, along the staircase’s side and shoot up taking visitors to the maximum accessible height of twenty-eight metres.