Paris 2012 today outlined the “Northern Cluster” concept to the visiting IOC Evaluation Commission, headed by Nawal El Moutawakel,
during the Commission’s tour of the Cluster venues. The ground-breaking concept
promotes urban regeneration and sustainable development by focusing on the needs
of the Olympic visitors and the area’s residents through innovative design and
Paris 2012’s “Northern Cluster” concept received praise today from the Olympic planning expert for the Sydney Games,
Bridget Smyth, who described it as “an innovative concept, a showcase of fiscal
prudence and sustainable urban development”.
Breaking from the traditional model of “Olympic Parks” (represented in the Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008
Olympics), Paris 2012 has designed the Northern Cluster to be “open”, allowing
spectators, as well as the area’s residents, to enjoy the Games. Access to all
the venues will be made possible by grouping the venues according to their geographic
location, linking them by transport routes and making enhancements to the existing
public transport systems.
“Paris 2012’s Northern Cluster is resolutely innovative, as it installs a cluster of Olympic venues into the very heart of an already
existing urban infrastructure”, said Ms. Smyth, who
served as Director of Urban Design and Games Look with the Olympic Co-ordination
Authority for the Sydney Games from 1996 to 2001. “The cluster’s unprecedented
design brings fluidity in the circulation of the athletes, media and spectators,
while respecting the residents’ activities and movements. This concept actually
brings these two groups of people closer, allowing everyone to enjoy the full
The Northern Cluster will be a significant catalyst for the development of the North of Paris, an area that is disadvantaged by low
incomes and an ageing infrastructure. As an indirect effect of the Games, residents
will benefit from the physical, economic and cultural redeployment of the area.
More directly, they will enjoy the new Aquatic Centre, the SuperDome, new parks
and updates to the local metro system.
Determined to avoid “white elephants”, Paris 2012 worked closely with the Communauté d’Agglomération de la Plaine Commune1
to define the needs of the Cluster and ensure that the needs of the Ile-de-France
population are met.
Henri Sérandour, President of the French National Olympic Committee and member
of Paris 2012 Founding Committee, said: “The Games will catalyze urban regeneration
in the North of Paris, one of this city’s last remaining underdeveloped areas.
The Northern Cluster’s design
marries the IOC requirements for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the
French population’s needs. The 2012 Games in Paris would be a gift to the residents
and would leave a rich Olympic legacy for future generations.”
Notes to editors
The “Northern Cluster” will house both temporary and permanent structures, including:
- the International Broadcast Center
- the Main Press Center
- the proposed Olympic stadium -- the Stade de France Paris 2012
- the Superdome
- the Aquatic center
- the wrestling, taekwondo and handball pavilions
- Basketball, boxing, weightlifting and table tennis pavilions will be installed
in a new 10-hectare park.
All structures, including the Transport that links them to the Olympic Village
and Western Cluster, will be under maximum security and protection 24 / 7. This
includes an array of active (access control, national and local police patrols)
and passive (alarms, video surveillance) security measures in place at all Olympic
and Paralympic Games venues.
Bridget Smyth, Director, Urban Design and Games Look with the Olympic Co-ordination
Authority for the Sydney Games, 1996 to 2001.
Ms. Smyth is the Executive Director, Design (City Architect) for the City of
Sydney, and plays a lead role in shaping Sydney’s civic improvements program.
She manages a portfolio of special projects covering masterplans, public parks,
public buildings, public art, urban spaces, infrastructure and has an advisory
role on private developments in Sydney.
Prior to this role Ms. Smyth was Director Urban Design and Games Look, with the
Olympic Coordination Authority, from 1996–2001. She was responsible for urban
design, architecture, landscape architecture, and public art for the Sydney 2000
Olympic Games. Ms. Smyth initiated and directed the public art program (AUD$ 8
Million), which enabled artists to create significant works of art as part of
the development of the Olympic venues and the public domain at Homebush Bay. In
addition, Ms. Smyth took responsibility in 1998 for the Look of the Games Program
which covered venues, as well as common and urban domains.
She led the team that pioneered the Look of the Games, venturing beyond venues
and into the City, Olympic corridors and Olympic Live sites.
From 1990-1996, Ms. Smyth held a senior design role in the largest urban infrastructure
project underway in the United States – the $US14 billion Central/Artery Tunnel
Project, Boston Massachusetts. Ms. Smyth managed the project’s public art program,
initiating the major public art projects as an integral component of the city’s
Ms Smyth holds a Bachelor of Planning and Design, a Bachelor of Architecture
(Hons) from the University of Melbourne, and a Masters in Design (Urban Design)
from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.