Retractable seating plan for London 2012 Olympic Stadium unveiled publicly

Sunday, 31 March 2013
By Duncan Mackay

West Ham Olympic Stadium with bubblesMarch 31 - West Ham United have revealed further plans for the redevelopment of the London 2012 Olympic Stadium, including drawings illustrating how the lower level of retractable seats will be brought closer to the pitch over the running track to make the arena more suitable for football.

The drawings, published on the club's official site, show how the Stadium will be able to function as both an athletics arena - with seating withdrawn - and a football ground with the four sides of the lower bowl pushed towards the pitch by automated motors.

Also visible is the "unique gravity stressed design" of the roof, which could become the largest spanning tensile roof in the world, according to the Premier League club, but without the distinctive triangular pylons that currently rise from the top of the Stadium.

West Ham also revealed that the stands at each end of the ground will be named after club legends Bobby Moore, who captained England when they lifted the 1966 FIFA World Cup, and Sir Trevor Brooking.

A statement on the West Ham website said: "The first set of drawings (images A and B) show how the state-of-the-art seating solution will ensure the Stadium offers a world-class viewing experience for watching football.

London 2012 Olympic Stadium West Ham athletics modeImage A: The post-conversion Olympic Stadium in athletics mode

"An automated system using drive motors will move all four sides of the lower bowl forward to bring the seats closer to the pitch, thus ensuring that the running track will not be visible when the Stadium is in football mode.

"The designs are such that the seating distances will now compare favourably with the best in UK stadia such as the Emirates and Wembley and the top stadia around the world.

"By way of example they will be 10 metres closer to the goal line than the Stade De France in Paris, which boasts a similar system.

London 2012 Olympic Stadium West Ham football modeImage B: The post-conversion Olympic Stadium in football mode

"The third image (image C) is a more detailed graphic showing the innovative gravity stressed design of the roof that enables it, at 84 metres, to become the largest spanning tensile roof in the world.

"It will also cover all the seats in the stadium and lock that world-renowned atmosphere in."

The London Legacy Development Corporation have applied for planning permission to convert the roof, with further images scheduled for release ahead of a consultation.

London 2012 Olympic Stadium West Ham outside modeImage C: The post-conversion Olympic Stadium will boast the largest spanning tensile roof in the world

The Olympic Stadium cost £429 million ($691 million/€528 million) to build for London 2012 and is it estimated that another £160 million ($260 million/€200 million) will be required to convert it into a 54,000-seater football stadium.

Newham Council will invest £40 million ($65 million/€49 million) in the cost of conversion while the Legacy Company will also contribute.

West Ham will pay £15 million $22 million/€17 million) towards the conversion costs and then £2 million (£1.3 million/€1.5 million) in rent as well as a share of catering revenues.

The club have signed a 99-year lease for the ground in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and plan to move in for the start of the 2016-2017 season.

It is expected that the work will be scheduled to allow the Stadium to host matches during the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

An announcement is expected to be made later next month. 

The Stadium is also due to host the 2017 International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships. 

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