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Industry & Trends

The Paris Summer Olympics Will Showcase Timber Too

The athletes are always the stars of the Olympics but the Paris Summer games will also feature creative uses of wood and recycled timber.

Olympic games over the years have been characterized by newly constructed stadium and sports facilities that often sit unused once the event is over. This summer the organizers of the Paris summer games are determined to take a very different approach.

In addition to reusing many existing venues and coming up with creative ways to host events – the opening ceremonies will be held as a parade of boats on the Seine River rather than in a grandiose stadium – organizers are making a big effort to use recycled materials, including timber, to address environmental and sustainability concerns. 

Perhaps the most prominent is the Olympic Aquatics Center which will be constructed mostly of wood and is being assembled almost like a Lego set. With 5,000 seats and wooden arches over the swimming area it is being heralded as the main architectural statement of the games.

But it’s not the only one employing timber. A primarily wooden venue that was built several years ago as a temporary exhibition hall will be used during the games for wrestling, judo and other sports but when the Olympics are over it will be broken down into smaller units that can be sold off for other uses.

Wood is also playing a role in new construction, including the Olympic Village housing for athletes. All buildings under eight floors, according to Bloomberg’s report on Olympic facilities, are being made of wood and glass while an 8,000-seat arena for indoor sports features a recycled aluminum façade built around a wooden structure. 

For the architects creating these projects, wood is an appealing building material. “We wanted to use the least amount of material possible, and wood means we don’t have to use drywall or other fixes used in construction to hide structural elements,” says Laure Mériaud, partner at Ateliers 2/3/4/, one of the firms involved in these new buildings. 

Would you like to learn more about the use of mass timber? Check out the “Future Foundations: Embracing the Evolving Trends in Offsite Construction” session at IWF 2024.

Image: Photographer: Salem Mostefaoui / Courtesy of Ateliers 2/3/4


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