BMW was the official automotive sponsor of the Summer Games and its 800m2 pavilion, within the Olympic Park, attracted thousands of visitors each day. The site of the pavilion, equidistant between the Olympic Stadium and the Aquatics Centre, ensures maximum visibility but created significant engineering challenges during construction; it sits in the middle of a tidal channel - the Waterworks River.
The pavilion was opened to a design competition but BMW called on Ramboll at an early stage to advise them of the feasibility of submissions and to then produce a detailed design of the sub-structure. We were also commissioned to undertake all environmental studies for the scheme which is located in a very sensitive location with tight environmental and sustainability constraints. Ramboll also managed piling site supervision and was the Construction,Design and Management Coordinator (CDMC) for the whole job and the multidiscipline design team which delivered it.
This unique and high-profile project was constrained by two major issues that our engineers had to overcome. The first obstacle was one of access - with much of the Olympic Park already developed and landscaping established almost all the piling work had to be undertaken from the river itself. But here, existing locks and bridges impeded plant access still further. Our engineers developed a sub-structure design which eliminated the need for large plant in the construction process.
The second problem was less visible. The close proximity of sensitive utilities required further optimisation of the pile layout to ensure vibration thresholds did not exceed allowable values. This, together with continuous vibration monitoring by our appointed piling contractors, Land & Water, allowed the works to proceed with confidence that the utilities were unaffected by the works.
Completed to programme, the double-deck pavilion featured current vehicles, as well as concept cars such as the i8 plug-in hybrid supercar and the Mini Rocketman city car. Tim Abbott, who is head of the BMW Group in the UK said in a statement that the pavilion provides “a powerful visual symbol [of BMW’s] commitment to the highest standards of innovation in design and sustainability.”