The Olympics

Trip Start Jan 07, 2007
Trip End Apr 02, 2007

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Flag of Greece  ,
Monday, February 12, 2007

The weather ended up cooperating today, and the result was one of my favorite days of this trip so far. Santiago Calatrava is one of my favorite architects practicing today, and he was the chief architect for the 2004 Olympic games in Athens. As soon as we could see the venue, there was a buzz amongst all of us. We got off the metro, and were instantly greeted by a beautiful and elegant entrance that marked the spot.

For those of you who don't know who Calatrava is (ok, so anyone who isn't an architect) he is a guy that practices in Switzerland with both an architectural certification as well as a structural engineer certification. His style consists of using complex structural elements and exposing them to the point where everyone can understand what he is doing and why he is doing it.

The stadium that housed the opening and closing ceremonies, he didn't design, but the roof structure is his. After we were given a brief tour, we were allowed to go down on the track. I was so excited, that I quickly organized a 100m dash, which I got three other people excited about. There is something about running on an Olympic Track that is just... really cool. You can almost imagine the stands full of screaming people and running for your country. While I cam in third, Andy and Mike both tested positive for steroids, so I walked away with the gold! There were another five of us who jogged a lap around the stadium, and I still have not wiped the smile off my face.

The Velodrome was another building of Calatrava's, and we were all bummed to discover it was closed to the public (and is hardly used for anything now). The exterior architecture was gorgeous, so I enjoyed that, and the interiors looked really sharp. There was a pedestrian bridge of Calatrava's a few metro stops away, so we saw that too. This guy is really good at architecture.

After we were dismissed for the day, I blitzed over to see the Olympic stadium from the 1896 games. A simple stadium, it is fascinating to see how far the games have come and how far architecture has come over the last 108 years.

Yes, I am still humming the Olympic fanfare and theme.
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dhadley193 on

Wow. . .once again!
I must admit that I have gone through most of life with very little notice of buildings and structures and I am now realizing daily (through your travel blogs) how much I have missed out on! 'Wow' has become my most commonly uttered phrase as I look at the pictures you post. Thanks for sharing the architectural world with us!

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