Aquatics Centre, Olympic Park

_DS83877Ten days ago the world lost arguably it’s most famous female architect – Dame Zaha Hadid.

Her design for the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park London was the star venue of the London Olympics in 2012. When I walked past this – and hurriedly shot this image –  on a visit to the Olympic Velodrome a week before she died, little did I realize the significance of this image.

Hadid’s designs were sometimes controversial, and always unconventional, featuring curvilinear or rectilinear lines that continually pushed the boundaries of construction. Her work spanned the world including designs for the Michigan State University Museum in the USA, the Maxxi Museum of 21st Century Art in Rome and projects in Asia including the Guangzhou Opera House in China._DS83877_BW

It’s been a troubling start to 2016. The obituary columns have made difficult reading with the names of men and women known the world over who are no longer with us. Nancy Reagan, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Harper Lee, George Martin spring to mind; men and women that have contributed so much and have been fixtures in our lives. It’s only a few months since I re-read ‘To kill a mockingbird’.

In the UK we have lost, in rapid succession, a number of giants from the world of entertainment: Cilla Black, Terry Wogan, Paul Daniels and Ronnie Corbett. Stars that we were used to seeing on our TV screens, or listening to on the Radio, week after week.

I remember the day in 1963 that President Kennedy died. I was at Boarding School and I was doing what was called ‘Prep’ (Homework to most people) in the school library in absolute silence along with others. Philip Jones was listening to a transistor radio through an ear-piece – in contravention of school rules. Suddenly he said in a loud voice: ‘Kennedy’s been shot, he’s dead’. The room erupted into noise as school rules were completely forgotten by all including the invigilating Prefect.

I recall waking up on a Sunday morning, 31 August 1997, and half awake hearing a radio commentator referring to Diana, Princess of Wales in the past tense and initially thinking it was a grammatical error, and then within a sentence or two understanding that she was no longer with us.

And I recall earlier this year driving to London, again on a Sunday morning, and turning on the radio to discover Terry Wogan  – a colossus of Radio and TV – whose BBC Radio 2 Breakfast programme I listened to daily for many years  had died overnight. It was hard to drive as the tears repeatedly welled in my eyes as one by one colleagues paid tribute to Terry and music, that featured so regularly on his playlists, filled the car with sound.

With each death we lose a fragment of what life has meant to us. When my mother was getting old I remember her saying once: ‘we’ve lost another one’ – referring to another friend who had died. I understand what she meant.

Click on the images – to see an enlargement. I have solved the fault thanks to help provided by Linda of The Task at Hand. Thank you very much, Linda. I will explain the solution tomorrow.


About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'.
This entry was posted in Architecture & Buildings and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Aquatics Centre, Olympic Park

  1. I agree Andy, it’s been difficult losing all these iconic individuals we’ve known and admired for all these years. This post and images are a fitting tribute.


  2. shoreacres says:

    And isn’t it ironic that people you mention as well-known — even famous — are people I’ve never heard of? Both Zaha Hadid and Terry Wogan are names I’ve never heard: a good reminder that the world is filled with a multitude of smaller worlds that we may, or may not, ever enter. I’d love to enter that building you’ve shown us, though. It’s beautiful.

    Another, related aspect of aging is that over time there are fewer and fewer people who share our memories. I suppose that’s part of the “losing each other” your mother mentioned. I remember where I was when I heard of Kennedy’s death, and yet there are people walking the earth today who haven’t a clue who Kennedy was. It seems unbelievable, and yet it’s true. All the more reason to keep telling the stories of those who are gone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LensScaper says:

      I hope I will have a chance to get inside the Aquatics Centre next time I visit this Park – just so long as it doesn’t involve me having to swim – or sink in my case. Memories are so easily lost and forgotten = specifically within families where they often only exist orally and when the teller of the memory dies, that memory dies with that person and is gone fore ever.


  3. Chillbrook says:

    This really is a stunning piece of architecture Andy and a wonderful photograph clearly showing the architects vision for a fluid design befitting its utility.
    As you say, it’s been a tough few months losing these figures that have been such a large part of our lives for so many years. One of the sad facts of life as we get older I suppose and the older we get, the more the losses stack up and the world becomes that little bit more alien to us. A very moving post. I understand now why, as my Grandad got older, the more he retreated into the films of the thirties and forties, shown on Channel 4 in the afternoons, he built up quite a collection that he watched over and over, a world he understood, a world he could still relate to.


    • LensScaper says:

      Memories I sometimes think are like comfortable armchairs into which we can sink. And memories that can be shared with others who can participate in the sharing are valuable as you rightly say. Thanks for your thoughts Adrian.


  4. John says:

    I love that building and all of Hadid’s work. The first image in color is so wonderful you almost think it is a computer render for a science fiction film.

    You are right that we have lost many wonderful, creative and inspiring people… many long before their time. Life is indeed fragile.


  5. poppytump says:

    A curvaceous metal wave sweeping over tropical blues … I like it very much Andy .
    I’ve found that hearing the demise of some familiar personalities brings back memories with great clarity . I’ll always remember hearing of Princess Diana death on the radio early in the morning as we packed for a holiday in Wales , it all felt rather surreal and impossible . I’ve now reached that age where a personal letter is quite often sad news of ‘another one gone’ .and so our circle of friends and relatives shrinks . Carpe Diem .
    Prep ! oh yes … and what about dententions 😉


    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks for your thoughts Poppy. Strange that you mention Wales. I remember a journey to Wales (Abersoch) when the children were small and we spent most of the journey glued to the radio as it was men’s final day at Wimbledon and it was one of those titanic finals between Bjorn Borg and McEnroe.


  6. Len says:

    It seems that the older we get, the more familiar greats are that are passing on to the after life. While I had never heard of Dame Zaha Hadid, her work looks absolutely beautiful in your photos. I am sure that the buildings that she designed will live on quite a long while.

    On another note, I haven’t been spending much times on blogs these days other than mine. I am finding that blogs seem to be a dying breed. I spend a lot of time now on Facebook where there are many photographers and the interchange is much more robust. I have met quite a number of new photographers who have become friends online and in person. I looked for your name there but it doesn’t seem that you are there. If you are, let me know how to find you.


    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Len – one hopes that Hadid’s work will live on although I wonder how well it will survive, Some cutting edge architecture does not weather well. I agree that the photographic blogging world seems to have diminished somewhat in the last year to eighteen months – many that I knew quite well seem to have disappeared without trace. I have never been on Facebook and not sure I want to be for a number of reasons: It seems designed for a different generation, I don’t like it’s approach to ownership of images and I am suspicious of something that seems to acquire more bad press stories than good. And finally I’m not certain I want to have to learn a whole new approach to ‘posting’ images and articles on-line. If you know better then I’d be pleased to hear from you.


Comments are closed.