An Olympic village is a residential village that is built or assembled to accommodate the athletes, their coaches, and the officials. The Olympic villages are equipped with dining facilities and cafes and are certainly more than just a place to stay. These Olympic villages are later turned into residential quarters, rental accommodations, student housing, etc. 

Now, let us have a look at some interesting and magnificent examples of such Olympic villages that stand out among the rest

1. Helsinki Athletes Village, 1952

Helsinki, the capital of Finland, was the smallest city that has ever hosted the summer Olympics. The work had already begun for the Olympics to be held in the year 1940, but the Olympics at Helsinki took place a decade after in the year 1952 due to World War II. Helsinki had 2 residential villages to accommodate the athletes called the Olympia Kyla (1940) and Kisa Kyla (1952), which were added later. 

These villages consist of 4-3 story residential buildings that were light-coloured, placed on a rising terrain amidst woods, and made use of multiple open courtyards. The residential blocks achieved natural connections and ample light, which in turn helped achieve maximum views. 

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Helsinki Athletes Village _©Heikki Havas – MFA

2. Montreal Athletes Village, 1976

For the 1976 Olympics held in Montreal, two 23 story pyramids were built in the Olympic village, accommodating about 11,000 athletes. Roger Taillibert was the architect who built and supervised the construction of this building, which is located 1 mile away from the stadium. The rooms in these two pyramids have been converted to rental accommodation, which people even today would want to stay in.

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Montreal Olympics Village_©www.canadarentalguide.compropertiesthe-olympic-village-5199-sherbrooke-east-suite-3361-montreal-quebecunits4692

3. Olympics Village, Barcelona, 1992

Barcelona has been one of the athletes’ favourite accommodations provided ever; the whole Olympics village was planned by the seaside. As we look at the Olympics village, we can spot the two tall skyscrapers, which provided accommodation to the athletes for their stay during the Olympics; below which we can spot the goldfish designed by Frank Gehry, which complements the residential quarters. These two buildings are currently being used for offices, and hotels respectively.

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Aerial View of Barcelona Olympic Village_ ©www.world-architects.com.en.mbm-arquitectes-barcelona.project.olympic-village-port-and-litoral-park

4. Sydney Olympics Village, 2000

The Sydney Olympics has been considered as one of the most successful Olympic games ever held. The buildings of Sydney Olympics village were made modular such that they could be relocated after the Olympics elsewhere and used there. About 2000 buildings were built, whose cost was well within the budget, and following such modular principles helped build the building 3 months before the schedule. 

This Olympics village is also noted as it was one of the largest solar-powered suburbs in the world of its time. Two villages were built: the athletes village and the Lidcombe Media village. Most of the buildings were relocated after the Olympics and were used as accommodation for tourists, and to accommodate people from mining families. 

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Aerial view _ Sydney Olympics Village _©Simon_sees

5. Beijing Olympics Village, 2008

The Beijing Olympics village has been one of the favourites accommodations facilities ever provided to the athletes. There are 42 buildings spread across 66 hectares of land with 9000 rooms that provide the athletes’ accommodation.

This Olympic village also had several other facilities like the medical centre, games arcade, supermarket, etc. These apartment units, which were built keeping in mind the environmental impact caused by them, use geothermal energy and solar panels. These apartment units were later sold as high-end posh residential units. 

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Beijing Olympic Village _©getty images

6. Vancouver Olympics Village, 2010

The Vancouver Olympic village is one of the greenest communities in the world, contributing to making Vancouver a sustainable leader. The sustainable principles used in this mixed-use community comprising 1100 residential units are solar heating and green roofs. 

This Olympic village was also the one that was designed to be used as residential units to house families and young professionals. This residential unit is located 2 min away from the Central Vancouver Canada line, which helps the residents as well.

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Vancouver Olympics Village _©Kevin van de Leek

7. London Olympics Village, 2012

London held the Olympics for the third time in 2012, where the London Olympic village was designed to host about 17000 athletes. Temporary partitions divided the space providing each athlete with an area of 16sqm provision for TV, internet, and private courtyards. An entrance hall and a food hall were also provided to accommodate about 5500 athletes at once, kept open 24 hours a day. 

The Olympic village is transformed to the East village to accommodate about 6000 people and 2812 new homes, 3 children play areas, and 35 acres of open and garden areas. 

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London Olympics Athletes Village_© www.idesignarch.com.inside-london-2012-olympic-athletes-village

8. Tokyo Athletes Village, 2021

These residential quarters consist of 21 buildings where about 18000 athletes can stay during the Olympics. This Olympics village consists of a plaza built out of wood, which is used as the prime material to revitalize the timber factories. This plaza houses the necessities of the athletes like the banks, ATMs, Cafes, etc. 

One of the sustainable features of the design is that it can be dismantled and reassembled elsewhere. The Olympic Village has also provided healthcare facilities and isolation wards to prevent and cure the spread of COVID-19.

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Tokyo_©Carl Court

9. Paris Athletes Village, 2024

The Olympic Village plazas encompass 3 main areas: international, residential, and operational. The international zone unravels to the Seine river and spreads around it; the residential area is planned around the cite de cinema. And, the operational area aims at connecting the major road networks. The design intends to accommodate 85% of the athletes to be able to reach the play zone in less than 30min travel time from their place of stay.

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Visualisations of the Paris Olympic Village 2024_ dominique perrault architecte _©adagp

10. Milan Olympic Village, 2026

SOM has been chosen to design the upcoming Olympic village of Milan through its international competition entry. The design intends to transform two buildings of historical importance and build six timber buildings, which will be used for student housing and low-cost affordable housing later after the Olympics. Built with timber, these residential buildings aim at making less impact on the environment. The design language incorporated is influenced by Milanese architecture. 

View of Olympics village Milan_©www.dezeen.com- 2021-08-05-som-athlete-village-2026-milano-cortina-winter-olympic-games

References
SOM to design athletes’ village for 2026 Milano Cortina Winter Games (dezeen.com)
Olympic Villages: Where Are They Now? (realestate.com.au)
The Olympic Village | Sights in Barcelona | Apartime Barcelona
Celebrating Sydney 2000 Athletes & Media Villages | Ausco
https://www.paris2024.org/en/olympic-and-paralympic-village-0/
https://moneyinc.com/top-five-olympic-villages/
https://sportstar.thehindu.com/other-sports/tokyo-2020-organisers-open-olympic-athletes-village-a-month-before-games-begin-timber/article34864297.ece

Author

An architect who strongly believes architecture is a fusion of the built form and the way people using it bring it alive! She is also fascinated by colours on canvas, memories in snaps, words in books, and most certainly by the glimpse of nature!!

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