The iconic London Aquatics Centre was one of the flagship venues of the London 2012 Olympic Park. Its Games-time configuration needed to accommodate 17,500 spectators, whilst allowing for it to be reduced in its permanent legacy mode to a 2,500 capacity venue.
Movement Strategies was commissioned to work with Zaha Hadid Architects to assess the Games-time design proposal from a crowd movement perspective.
The design brief included provision for a significant number of wheelchair users and their companions. The brief also required segregated routes to be provided for athletes, Olympic family, media and other VIP groups for both the entry and exit scenarios.
The level of service in all areas of the venue was assessed for all users against the agreed design standards.
What we did
We provided design advice to ensure that the venue was capable of accommodating the forecast crowd flows during normal operations, and in an evacuation scenario. We developed Legion simulation models of various scenarios, representing the crucial time periods for the building, as well as the expected variations between the Olympic and Paralympic events.
Our work enabled the increase in capacity from 2,500 seats to 17,500 seats for the Aquatics competitions.
Our advice shaped the configuration of the concourses, and defined the positioning and sizing of vertical circulation in both the front of house and back of house routes.
The Legion model outputs were used for the analysis of different design layout and management options, but were also used as a communication tool with London 2012 stakeholders and the Building Licensing team. As a result the segregation of exit routes for different client groups during the Games gained approval from the local licensing authority. We also contributed to the design of the Games family drop-off/pick-up area, including provision for VIPs and VVIPs.