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New-look Olympic Stadium ready for Rugby World Cup debut

By Tom Walker    23 Sep 2015
The stadium has undergone a £272m (US$424m, €390m) transformation and is now the only one in the UK to have been designed to host top level football, athletics, rugby and cricket.

A re-configured London Olympic Stadium will host its first major event since its radical £272m (US$424m, €390m) transformation when France line up against Romania for a Rugby World Cup game tonight.

Designed by sports architects Populous, the stadium has been completely remodelled from its London 2012 configuration and is now the only stadium in the UK specifically designed to host football, athletics, rugby, cricket and concerts.

Work since London 2012 has included the installation of a new flexible seating system to retain the original running track. The automated system allows all four sides of the lower bowl to be moved over the track when in football mode.

The fabric roof used during the Olympic Games has also been removed and replaced with the world’s largest cantilevered roof – measuring 45,000sq ft in size and 84m tall at its deepest point.

The new roof will improve acoustics by reflecting the noise of the terraces and projecting it towards the pitch.

In order to preserve some of the Olympic Stadium’s identity, the iconic triangular lighting towers that used to stand over the old roof have been inverted and now hang underneath the new larger roof.

See below a video made by Populous – produced with help from Balfour Beatty and Buro Happold – to explain the changes made to the stadium

A Transformation Story... from Populous on Vimeo.

The stadium will become the new home to English Premier League club West Ham from the beginning of the 2016-17 season and now meets UEFA Category 4 classification, the highest available – as well as being fully compliant to IAAF Category 1 standards for elite athletics events.

As well as hosting West Ham, the stadium will also be used for athletics for one month a year and will host ten annual community sports events on its new floodlit running track. Further additions as part of the redevelopment include a training and education centre.

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