• An Architectural Olympic Legacy

    by  • September 9, 2013 • Architecture, City Breaks, Glasgow, London, Marseille, Rome • 0 Comments

    Swiftly following the news that Tokyo has won the bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games, it has been announced that British-based architect, Zaha Hadid’s ‘space-age mothership’ design has been selected as the blueprint for the city’s Olympic stadium, a multi-million revamp in fact of Tokyo’s National Stadium. With an extensive worldwide portfolio under her belt, we take a look at some of her famous architectural designs across Europe.

    Fondatione MAXXI, Rome

    Based in the Flaminio district of Rome and somewhat at odds with the city’s iconic ancient architectural gems, the National Museum of the 21st Century Arts (otherwise known as Fondatione MAXXI) is a striking and futuristic-looking building comprising overlapping and intersecting oblong tubes which received the 2010 Stirling Prize for architecture. MAXXI plays host to two museums, MAXXI Art and MAXXI Architecture, the latter being the first national museum of architecture to be established in Italy whilst MAXXI Art is dedicated to the modern arts, containing works by Anish Kapoor, Gerhard Richter, William Kentridge and Gibert and George.

    Riverside Museum, Glasgow

    Crowned 2013 European Museum of the Year by the European Museum Forum Awards earlier this year, Zaha Hadid’s Glaswegian creation sits along the banks of the River Clyde at the confluence of the River Klein on the site of the former Inglis Shipyard and has easily become one of the city’s most recognisable and distinctive landmarks. Dubbed ‘Glasgow’s Guggenheim’, the Riverside pays homage to the world of transport and travel with a wealth of over 3,000 transport-related exhibits including cars, bicycles, ship models, trams and one of the largest locomotives on display in Britain. There’s also a 19th-century tall ship, the Glenlee, moored right outside.

    London Aquatics Centre

    Undoubtedly visited by thousands last year, the London Aquatics Centre was one of the main venues for the London Olympics and Paralympics, housing two 50-metre swimming pools and a 25-metre diving pool. Described by IOC President, Jacques Rogge, as a “masterpiece” – and so it should be given its final cost at completion of £269 million – the Aquatics Centre has been downsized following the completion of the games and will replace the pools at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre to become London’s leading facility for aquatic sports.

    CMA CGM HQ, Marseille

    Perhaps not a site that you’d necessarily seek out on a short break to the south of France but worth a mention nonetheless as it’s a building you’d struggle to miss if in Marseille, this year’s European Capital of Culture. The unique skyscraper headquarters of shipping firm, CMA CGM, dominates the Marseille cityscape, rising nearly 150 metres from ground level at the main port in a metallic curving arc.


    With a French grandmother, childhood holidays on the continent and a degree in French and Spanish, a love of languages and travel has always been in my blood. Fresh from university with an unfettered enthusiasm to show off my linguistic ability and first-hand knowledge of the world beyond the UK, I entered the travel industry and, 16 years on, I’m still there! With several years spent in the luxury sector planning escorted holidays across Europe for the American market, followed by an even longer tenure designing short breaks with a difference in the must-see cities of Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam, Madrid, Prague, Florence, Brussels, Venice, Salzburg, Milan, Krakow and Berlin (to name but a few), it’s fair to say that Europe is my passion! Today my travels have taken me far beyond the boundaries of Europe with so many destinations still to discover, yet the continent abounds in such a wealth of treasures – historical and architectural, cultural and musical, gastronomic, artistic and linguistic – that its appeal, for me, will be eternal.

    Leave a Reply