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London 2012


London’s candidature for the 2012 Summer Games included plans to build a permanent 80,000-seater stadium that would be resized after the Games, with a reduced 25,000-spectator capacity.

The location of the future stadium and the rest of the Olympic Park was an industrial zone that the city wanted to regenerate and repurpose. More than 800,000 tonnes of earth were excavated and, when necessary, decontaminated. Thirty-three old buildings were knocked down to make way for the stadium.


The designers opted for a simple, compact, elliptical shape with an emphasis on elegance and lightness. With a view to the post-Games reconfiguration, removable features were installed and the weight of the structures was kept to a minimum. A focus was placed on reducing, re-using and recycling materials. Surplus gas supply pipes, for example, were used to build the top ring of the stadium.


The design is a response to the challenge of creating the temporary and the permanent at the same time - that is the essence of the design for the stadium. Rod Sheard Senior Principal Architect at HOK Sport

The lower, permanent tier, with seating for 25,000, has a sunken bowl form designed to bring the spectators as close to the action as possible. A demountable upper tier included seating for 55,000 spectators and was supported by a bolted metal structure with 112 raker beams measuring 40 metres in length. The stadium’s terracing units were made from 12,000 pre-cast reinforced concrete elements.


The cable-supported roof structure covered two-thirds of the stands and featured a membrane structure spanning 25,000m2. These cables were capable of supporting the weight of 34 double-decker London buses.

On the inner tier of the roof were 14 triangular towers, weighing 34 tonnes and standing at a height of 28 metres. Held in position by cables, each tower contained up to 44 floodlights, with the number subject to variation depending on the position and angle. There were 532 floodlights in total, designed to meet high-definition television standards.

The stadium site, a large portion of which is surrounded by water, is connected to the rest of the Olympic Park by bridges.

IOC / FURLONG, Christopher


The stadium resizing project underwent changes since the initial plan. Between 2013 and 2016, the building was redeveloped so that it could host both sporting and cultural events. A new roof spanning 45,000 metres was installed, covering all the stands. Retractable seating brought a section of the spectators closer to the field and 14 new floodlight towers, keeping the triangular shape of the old ones, which had been taken down, were set up on the roof. The stadium capacity, meanwhile, was finally reduced to approximately 60,000 (80,000 for concerts) instead of 25,000, as initially planned.

In 2015, the stadium hosted matches in the Rugby World Cup, and in 2016, it became the home ground of West Ham United Football Club. Athletics meets have also been held there, including the inaugural edition of the Athletics World Cup in 2018. In June 2019, the stadium is set to play host to Major League Baseball matches between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees – a first in Europe. The stadium is also used a venue for concerts by international stars.

IOC / FURLONG, Christopher


- During Games time, the external façade of the stadium was decorated with 336 fabric panels, each measuring approximately 2.5x25 metres. The panels were developed by Worldwide Olympic Partner Dow using an innovative material with a smaller ecological footprint than traditional materials.

- In order to create the original light effects during the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, 70,799 luminous panels equipped with nine LED lamps were installed between the seats. A central computer controlled each of the panels.

- Placed side by side, the seats in the Olympic Stadium, at the time of the Games, would have covered a distance of 50 kilometres.

- In order to ensure that there were 10 hectares of colourful wildflower meadows around the stadium and throughout the Olympic Park in time for the start of the Games, the areas in question were specially sown in the second week of May 2012. Two years of tests and research were required to time the flowering correctly.


- “About”, website of the London Stadium.
- “About the Event”, website of the Athletic World Cup.
- “Game Changers Strength, Style and Sustainability Wrapped In One Solution”, Form no. 878-00052-0713BBI, website of The Dow Chemical Company.
- London 2012 Candidate City, London 2012 Candidate City, vol. 1, p. 23, vol. 2, p. 13.
- London 2012 Olympic Games: the official report, LOCOG, London, 2013, vol. 3, p. 145.
- “London Stadium”, website of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
- “London Stadium to host Major League Baseball in June 2019”, news, website of the London Stadium, 18 May 2018.
- Media guide: London 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony, LOCOG, London, 2012, p. 15.
- “New era of stadium design begins with Olympic Stadium”, media release, website of London 2012, 7 November 2007.
- “Olympic Stadium wildflower meadows sown to flower gold this summer”, media release, website of London 2012, 11 May 2012.
- “Olympic Stadium construction complete”, media release, website of London 2012, 29 March 2011.
- “Prime Minister and local schoolchildren light up Olympic Stadium for first time”, media release, website of London 2012, 20 December 2010.
- “Stadium steel rises to change Olympic Park skyline”, media release, website of London 2012, 15 October 2008.
- “The Biggest Stage in London 2012 Prepares its Colourful Curtian”, media release, website of Populous, 4 August 2011.
- The London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games: post-Games review, Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General, National Audit Office (United Kingdom), 30 November 2012, pp. 7, 20.
- “The stage for the greatest show on earth – London 2012 Olympic Stadium”, website of Populous.

Name: The stadium was subsequently renamed the London Stadium
Location: Olympic Park, Stratford, London, United Kingdom
Status: Built for the Games. In use today.
Designers: HOK Sport Ltd49 (architects), Buro Happold (designer of the civils, structural and building services work), Hyland Edgar Deiver (landscape architects), Savilles Hepher Dixon (planning consultant)
Cost: 429 million pounds sterling
Capacity: 80,000 spectators
Dimensions: 315m long, 256m wide and 63m high (floodlights included). Stadium perimeter of 860 metres.
16 hectares for the site.
Additional information: The building contains approximately 10,000 tonnes of steel; over 5,000 reinforced concrete columns for the foundations, up to 20 metres deep; 12 kilometres of ventilation conduits and 338 kilometres of electrical cables. More than 5,250 people were involved in building the stadium.
Construction: March 2008 to March 2011
Official opening: 6 May 2012
Events during the Games: Athletics (excluding the two marathons, the two 20km race walks and the 50km race walk).
Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

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