OAKA. Olympic Athletic Center of Athens


The Olympic Athletic Center of Athens (OAKA), is a sport facilities complex built in 1982 and refurbished for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games under a design produced by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.

oaka-ritagliataAlso known as OAKA, the complex is an articulated building system inserted into the context of an existing sports center built in the eighties.

The new citadel, created to host Athens 2004 Olympic Games, is set in a vast eco-park enhancing the biomorphic matrix of such extraordinary structures where construction science and mathematical formulas are manipulated and seamlessly blended together by the courage of an architect who challenges the laws of statics through the acrobatic lightness of a visionary engineer.

The new sport facility is located in Maroussi, northeast suburb of Athens, and consists of five major venues for specific disciplines: the Olympic Indoor Hall, the Athens Olympic Aquatic Center, the Athens Olympic Tennis Center, the Athens Olympic Velodrome and the Olympic Stadium.

In addition to the new sport facilities the complex includes a real multifunctional urban space offering a number of communal areas, like rest areas and relational spaces equipped with shelters and distributed along the pathways linking the sports facilities.

In line with the tradition of major planetary scale events, the Olympic icon was conceived as a strong identifying sign and Calatrava created a surprising object taken from his design imaginary world. The Olympic Icon is a movable steel sculpture in the form of a spindle. Mounted on an inclined steel pylon, the Icon can be rotated horizontally, casting its shadow on signs and symbols marked on the pavement at its base.

lts structural concept admirably combines engineering and architecture through bearing concrete and steel structures with smooth and sinuous surfaces, liberated from any kind of physicality and challenging the very force of gravity. The distinctive sign of the Spanish architect borrows shapes and elements from nature, observing them with the eye of an entomologist, and transforming them into solid structures and light volumes developed through complex compositional systems and employing innovative technological solutions. Almost all structures were prefabricated off-site, minimizing interference with other construction work on the existing buildings. Halyps Cement contributed to the realization of the complex with the supply of 36,000 tons of aggregates.

DESCRIPTION SHEET – Athens Olympic Sports Complex Renovation
Client: Organizing Committee of Olympic Games of Athens 2004 and the Ministry of Culture of Greece
Location: Maroussi, Athens, Greece
Architect: Santiago Calatrava Vals, Parking 11 8002 Zurich, Switzerland
Site characteristics: Olympic Sports Complex located in the suburban district of Maroussi, 5 miles north of Athens downtown. Santiago Calatrava was commissioned to design several of the venues for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. The works, officially known as the Athens Olympic Sports Complex (OAKA) include the roof of the Olympic Stadium, the Velodrome, and the Agora.
Program: Modernization and harmonization of the existing complex with the surrounding area and its access routes (definition of a new central axis linking all the facilities).
Total Land Surface: 127,625 square meters
Construction details: particular attention has been devoted to sustainable construction standards enhancing efficient water and energy management–thus reducing pollutant emissions into the atmosphere (CO2 emissions have been halved)– usage of eco-sustainable building materials, and renewable energy production
Construction system: Tight times and costs imposed a tight schedule and a strong reduction of personnel and equipment on site. Hence the decision to prefabricate most structures, assemble them for testing at the workshop, dismantle them afterwards to ship and reassemble them on site. The bold and monumental covers the Olympic Stadium and the Velodrome built close to the existing facilities have required accurate structural calculations, the elaboration of a complex installation system by means of hydraulic railway jacks and a careful choice of materials.
Materials: 770K m3 of concrete supplied by ET Beton located in Attica and Domiki Beton located in Crete. 300K tons of cement and about 2 Mt of aggregates supplied by Halyps Cement. The Greek subsidiaries of the Italcementi Group supplied materials to the construction site for the roof of the Olympic Stadium, as well as to sites directly linked to the Games (Beach Volleyball Stadium, Tae Kwon Do, Basketball and Canoe/Kayak facilities) and to other construction sites for infrastructure works set up to host the Olympic Games in Greece (highways, metro stations, railway lines etc.).
Project: 2002-2004
Start of works: 2003
End of works: 2004
Strength and lightness are at the heart of the OAKA sports complex. Santiago Calatrava associated sculpture and engineering to create concrete and steel bearing structures: this marriage generated smooth and sinuous forms that seem released from physical boundaries and the laws of statics.
Santiago Calatrava www.calatrava.com OAKA technical sheets OAKA


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OAKA: The Olympic Athletic Center in Athens


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