September 25, 2009

forward









With a couple hours to kill yesterday before leaving Munich for Paris, I decided to jump on the UBahn and head out to Olympiapark and wander around. Apparently, Olympiapark was never meant to be the real name, but it has come to be called that due to that designation as the metro stop. It was more impressive than I expected. More than anything, I loved how much of the original stadium and environment from the 72 Olympics had been preserved, from the seats to the signage that clearly remains from then. It's difficult to find much trace of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, so that was a pleasant surprise. Olympiapark is in an area of Munich called Oberwiesenfeld, which had been almost a wasteland since 1939. Until then, it had been used as an airfield, and later stored hills of rubble from WWII bombing debris. Munich made a conscious effort to make a "green Olympic Games" and converted the area to green space with architecture that looked positively to the future. They succeeded. The "tensile" sturctures that cover much of the park, not only the stadium, were designed by Frei Otto. And while there is a decidedly retro feel to it in some ways now, it still feels positively forward looking.

2 comments:

Jim said...

The Olympiapark is one of my favorite places. I've been there during the Olympic Summer Games in 1972 and returned many times since. It's so many things at once. A large city park, a place for big sporting events and open-air concerts, a place where people can go for fitness and relaxation. We've seen countless concerts at both the stadium and the Olympiahalle. I've swam quite a few laps in the pool which is open to the puplic. Many cultural festivals take place there throughout the year. It's propably the only Olympic site in the world which is still being used to its full potential. And it's still visually the most stunning.

jon berry said...

Yeah, I really was amazed at how much it was still fully being used. Olympic parks always seem to turn into desolate places with a stadium, a fountain and empty space. There were tons of people around using the park - I'll have to write more on that. Much of the park seems to be being redone as well, and the new BMW museum was very impressive from the outside...