Global design company Populous has been selected to design the main stadium for the 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in Sochi, Russia. It will seat up to 40,000 people and is expected to incorporate a number of eco-friendly features. The exterior of the stadium will be sheathed in a crystalline skin which will be translucent during the day and come alive at night with the color and spectacle we have come to expect from modern-day Olympic venues.

Populous (formerly HOK Sport) was selected by the State Corporation ‘Olympstroy’ to design the main stadium and the company will also design the master plan and overlay plan for competition and non-competition venues and facilities. Whilst precise details of the stadium project are not yet known, it is expected that eco-friendly features such as natural lighting and ventilation will be used throughout the structure.

"The main stadium design, in addition to the venue overlay plan we have prepared for the 2014 Games, delivers a wonderful vision for the winter Olympics, and a lasting sustainable legacy for Sochi,” said John Barrow, Populous senior principal. “Its sweeping form responds to both its coastal location and mountainous backdrop, whilst its crystalline skin engages with its surroundings by day, and provides an iconic representation of the color and spectacle of the games when illuminated at night."

It was difficult to envisage exactly how the exterior of the Beijing Olympic swimming stadium would look with night lighting until we saw it on our screens. Similarly, whilst the first conceptual images of the Sochi main stadium are suggestive of the pebble-like, semi-transparent texture of the wings of a dragonfly or butterfly, will they utilize the exterior at night and during the opening and closing ceremonies? Let's hope so.

Populous is also part of a consortium responsible for the design of existing and newly built venues for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

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