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BMW's Olympic Pavilion built on top of a waterfall


July 3, 2012

The defining feature of the BMW Olympic Pavilion is its waterfall plinth

The defining feature of the BMW Olympic Pavilion is its waterfall plinth

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It's July, which means the London 2012 Summer Games are less than a month away. For the average world citizen, that means simply clearing a little time in his or her schedule to cheer on their country. For BMW and Serie Architects, it means overseeing the finishing touches on a massive pavilion that includes an integrated waterfall.

BMW is a sponsor of the London Olympics and has been quite busy preparing for the games. Last month, the luxury automaker debuted the first of its new "i" stores on Park Lane in the host city. Meanwhile, BMW's British marque MINI has released a special edition Rocketman and a whimsical video called "The Britalian Job" in anticipation of the Olympics.

By far BMW's most visible move for the Olympic Games, however, is the company's Olympic Pavilion, which rises above the Waterworks River between the Olympic Stadium and Aquatics Centre. More than just a location, the riverside setting is fundamental to the pavilion's design. In what it calls "liquid architecture," Serie Architects turns the lower of the pavilion's two floors into a living structure defined by cycled river water. The water enshrouds exhibits and visitors in thin, ethereal walls rife with movement, noise and flux. Besides delivering a defining architectural element, the water serves to cool visitors, offering a sustainable, low-impact form of air conditioning.

Serie explains that the pavilion is inspired by Victorian summer bandstands, which used simple forms and stripped down designs to minimize the separation between man and nature. The river-cycled waterfall walls are the boldest elements used in blending the pavilion with its natural surroundings, and Serie keeps the rest of the design simple, using mathematically rooted curves and angles throughout.

With such a natural backdrop, it's only fitting that BMW uses the pavilion to showcase its greenest technologies. BMW will use the series of smaller pavilions on the upper floor to showcase its latest innovations, which will undoubtedly include the soon-to-launch i3 electric city car and i8 plug-in performance hybrid. We also imagine that BMW will have its i Pedelec folding scooter on hand.

In addition to displaying its products in dramatic fashion, BMW's role as Official Automotive Partner and tier one Olympic sponsor will entail providing around 4,000 vehicles for transporting athletes and officials. The automaker says the fleet will be based on sustainable technologies, including electric, hybrid and low-emissions diesel.

Serie Architects says that the individual pavilions that make up the greater BMW structure will have life after the Olympics. They will travel to the British countryside and serve as a reminder of the Games and of sustainability in general.

Source: Serie Architects, BMW via Car Design News

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

BMW is going to consume vast quantities of energy pumping water to show off their low energy cars. Very nice.


No energy need be used to provide the "liquid architecture" which is the main feature of this building.

If recent weather is anything to go by I think we will be able to rely on natural run-off to provide all the water that will be required.

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