Transformation lights up former Olympic Stadium

Installation of the first of 14 brand new floodlight towers to the former Olympic Stadium has begun. The lights will illuminate a wide variety of events at the iconic venue in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, from football and concerts to other sporting events and community days.

The new 18m floodlight paddles will each house between 8 and 41 lamps, many of which are original lamps that shone over the Stadium during London 2012, and the triangular design has been kept to reflect the iconic Games-time shape. It will take international infrastructure group Balfour Beatty 12 hours to lift each 45 tonne light into place 30m above the Stadium floor.

Instead of sitting atop the roof as in the Stadium’s old design, the new floodlight towers will hang below a newly erected roof that will be the largest of its kind in the world covering every seat in the Stadium. This new layout will ensure an improvement in the acoustics and spectator experience for the wide range of sports and events that will take place in the venue.

David Goldstone, Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, said: “Many people will have memories of London 2012 that centre around the Stadium and its iconic floodlights so it was really important to us to retain the design of the lights whilst transforming the Stadium into a world-class multi-use venue.”

Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, said: “The installation of the first of the floodlights is another huge step towards ensuring the Stadium offers the best possible viewing experience for competitors and spectators enjoying the range of sports and entertainment that will take place there. The conversion work will see the Stadium continue to be a world class visitor attraction that benefits the residents of Newham, London and the nation as a whole.”

Work on the roof and floodlight paddles will be completed ahead of the five Rugby World Cup 2015 matches taking place in the Stadium in the autumn. The venue, which is managed by E20 Stadium LLP a joint venture between the London Legacy Development Corporation and Newham Council, will then become the permanent home of West Ham United Football Club and the new national competition centre for UK athletics in 2016.

As work began on the floodlight towers, the steel frame for the halo that surrounds the base of the Stadium has been completed. This structure will contain 96 turnstiles, 33 catering outlets and close to 1,000 toilets. Time lapse cameras, with footage streamed to the Park’s website, have captured the work undertaken to complete the halo’s steel frame as well as many other elements of the Stadium’s transformation - queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk/the-park/venues/the-stadium.

Key Stadium Facts

  • The 14 floodlight towers weigh 45 tonnes and contain between 8 and 41 lamps depending on where they are in the venue.
  • At 45,000sq metres, the new roof will be twice the size of the original.
  • At 84 metres at its deepest point the roof will be the longest cantilevered roof in the world.
  • Stadium transformation work includes installing the roof, a community track, innovative retractable seating, spectator and hospitality facilities and external landscaping.
  • While building work is taking place the running track is protected by a 750mm deep ‘mat’ of recycled concrete which is designed to support all the lifting activities. Once work on the roof is complete a new pitch will be laid for the five Rugby World Cup matches.
  • A new floodlit 400m 6-lane (8 on the straights) community athletics track, the London Marathon Charitable Trust Community Track, will be built next to the main Stadium. This will be used by the local community, local and regional athletics clubs and also as a warm-up track for elite events within the Stadium.
  • The Stadium will meet UEFA Category 4 classification and will be a fully compliant IAAF Category 1 athletics facility.
  • Following the Rugby World Cup, final work will be carried out to prepare the Stadium for its long term tenants West Ham United FC and UK Athletics.
  • New retractable seating will be installed so the lower bowl can be protracted and retracted depending on the type of event taking place allowing closer pitch side football views while retaining an international class running track.
  • The Stadium will host the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships and IPC Athletics World Championships – the first time these prestigious global events have been staged in the same venue in the same year.