Whatever legacy the Olympic Games leave with London, at least they won't leave a lot of huge, useless buildings behind. London's Olympic buildings are designed to be dismantled after everyone has gone home, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The aftermath of the Olympics can be mixed for cities. Preparing to host the Games can leave cities with important lasting infrastructure. Barcelona built much-needed housing and public transportation for the 1992 games. Other cities end up saddled with debt and enormous, useless buildings. Athens is an example: The Greek city has abandoned 21 of the 22 buildings it constructed especially for the Games in 2004, the U.K.'s Independent reported in 2008.
London officials wanted to be sure to avoid Athens' fate. As a result, they've commissioned many buildings that will undergo clever conversions or disappearances after the Games are over.
London's Olympic Stadium now has seats for 80,000 people, but after the Games, about two-thirds of the structure — everything above ground — can be dismantled, leaving behind a more manageable 25,000-seat arena.
The aquatics center has temporary wings for extra seating, made of fabric stretched over a steel frame. The wings are actually good for acoustics in the building, the Wall Street Journal reports. They'll come down after the Olympics, however, revealing a smaller building inside. The outside of the inner building will get glazed for a new look.
Several other buildings will disappear entirely after the Olympics leave London. The water-polo arena will disappear. The basketball arena, which seats 12,000, will be taken down. It can be reused elsewhere, though the Wall Street Journal suggests London hasn't found any takers yet.
In spite of all this recycling, the London Games are set to become the most over-budgeted Games since 1996 and the most expensive Games yet, costing $14.8 billion, Time reported. No matter what austerity measures officials claim they'll take, Time and the Atlantic argue that hosting the Games is generally a bad bet for cities, financially. That probably matters little, however, as it seems to be a bet that cities find difficult to turn down.