With construction for London’s 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games approaching 90% completion, Brazil is taking the construction baton. Officials there have begun procuring a master planner for the next games, set for Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Courtesy Olympic Development Authoority
Handball arena, completed this month, is in East London's Olympic Park.

London’s Olympic Development Authority, responsible for games-related construction, this month completed the handball arena. ODA had already handed over the main stadium and velodrome, also sited in East London’s Olympic Park.ODA Chief Executive Dennis Hone said that 83% of work at the 200-hectare park had been completed by the end of March, 16 months ahead of the July 27, 2012, opening ceremony. The UK Dept. of Culture Media and Sport now forecasts a final construction cost of venues and infrastructure of approximately $12 billion, fractionally below budget.

As construction enters the last lap, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games aims to allocate seats to successful applicants by late next month. LOCOG received 20 million applications for the 6.6 million seats available by the April 26 deadline, say officials.

Across the Atlantic Ocean, Rio de Janeiro municipality jointly with the Brazilian Architect’s Institute has launched a master plan competition for the 2016 Olympic Park. At 118 hectares, the triangular park will be substantially smaller than London’s. However, the design brief puts a similar emphasis on sustainability and post-games use.

The park will be located in Barra da Tijuca, on the city’s west side. Its construction will include removal of the city’s Formula One race track, which now occupies the site. Ten venues will be sited at the park, including the existing Olympic Arena, which was completed in 2007 for the Pan American Games. Bids for the master plan work are due in by June 20, with a contract set for signing on August 8.