national sliding center near beijing

9 Stories About Design at the Olympics

With the 2022 Winter Games right around the corner, <em> Metropolis</em> revisits some of our favorite stories of Olympian design.

Every two years the Olympics shines a global spotlight on the worlds’ best athletes and most exciting competitions, and just as bobsledders and discus-throwers compete for medals, host cities and nations compete with one another in the realm of design. The architectural and graphic identities of each edition of the Olympics are a major opportunity for the hosts to make a statement about who they are on the world stage. Each Olympiad brings with it an array of new sports venues, urban redevelopment projects, transit infrastructure, and artistic installations that long outlive the two weeks of competition.

Over the years, Metropolis has paid close attention to the architecture and design of the Olympic games because these international mega events offer insight into the state of design globally. We have explored the Games’ rich graphic design history, pored over splashy stadia designed by the biggest names in architecture, and we have taken a critical look at the mixed impact of the games on the urban fabric of their host cities. Perhaps most importantly, we have explored how the games could be designed to be more sustainable, by reusing existing infrastructure, avoiding mass evictions, and moving away from a paradigm of building massive projects that will be filled to capacity only once.

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