Winning an Olympic Gold as an Architect 34
  • 友善列印版本


    By Senior Manager – Cost & Controls Eugene Chang


    Today, it is somewhat unimaginable for an architect to win an Olympic gold medal, given the nature of the profession which requires long working hours, leaving little time for amateur athletes to train on the side. But this was indeed possible 70 years ago, when architecture was an official competition in the Summer Olympics! In fact, art competitions, including five categories in architecture, literature, music, painting, and sculpture, formed part of the modern Olympic Games from 1912 to 1948.


    Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), orchestrated the Olympic Movement and established the Olympic Games as we it know today. Richard Stanton, who wrote a book on the subject, (The Forgotten Olympic Art Competitions), suggested "A historian and educator, who was raised and educated classical, he (Pierre de Coubertin) was particularly impressed by the idea of what it meant to be a true Olympian - someone who was not only athletic, but also skilled in music or literature".


    While art competitions were not a part of the first few modern Olympic Games in Athens (1896), Paris (1900), St.Louis (1904), and London (1908), Pierre de Coubertin was able to secure a place for his idea in the 1912 Stockholm Olympic Games. For the five categories of art competitions, the submission had to be original and inspired by sports. Swiss architects Eugène-Edouard Monod and Alphonse Laverrière won the first Olympic Gold Medal in Architecture for their building plan of a modern stadium. From 1912 to 1948, 151 medals were awarded in art competitions.


    However, IOC started to become concerned that most art competition participants were professionals, while the Olympics were supposed to be for amateurs. Finally, after the 1948 London games, the new IOC president Avery Brundage, a rigid supporter of amateur athletics, led a successful campaign to scrap the art competitions, replacing them with a noncompetitive exhibition to be held concurrently with the Games called the Cultural Olympiad. 


    And today, if architects want to win medals in architecture, they can look beyond the Olympics. In fact, our own Olympia 66 in Dalian, which opened in 2016, has become a multiple gold medalist by winning the Gold Award and the Sustainable Design Award for Design and Development – New Development from ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers) in 2017, and a Gold certification in LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design), joining our long list of Gold medalists from Plaza 66 and Grand Gateway 66 in Shanghai, Palace 66 and Forum 66 in Shenyang, Parc 66 in Jinan, Center 66 in Wuxi and Riverside 66 in Tianjin (Our Kunming SpringCity 66 and Wuhan Heartland 66 are also Gold pre-certified).



    Share articles