NEWS

Calatrava presents final stadium plans

Sweeping plans by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava to revamp the dowdy, concrete wasteland of the Athens Olympic Stadium into an expanse of soaring steel arches, lush greenery and babbling brooks were presented in Athens yesterday. The final form of the 65-billion-drachma (191.17- million euro) project, an initial version of which was made public last year, will involve the partial roofing of the main stadium, a new roof for the cycling track and covered walks beside streams of water and artificial lakes to link the main venues. «I believe that, precisely because the Olympic Games began here, future generations should be left with specific, distinctive buildings,» Calatrava told a press conference, noting that the Athens 2004 installations should be easily distinguishable from those built for previous Olympic venues. «This can be achieved through making a park,» he said. «There will be a public space, a square, there will be a strong presence of water… Visitors will be able to hear the sounds (of water) and walk in shady areas.» The new roofs over the stadiums – the main one was built 20 years ago – will use steel arcs covered by glass. They will be in blue and white, the colors of the Greek flag. Visitors will walk across the grounds along a corridor covered by woven steel (photo). The plans cost 4.1 billion drachmas (12 million euros). The entire project is scheduled for completion in April 2004, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said. The Games will take place between August 13-29.