London's preparations for this summer's Olympics have brought plenty of new architecture to the British capital, but not all of it has been as well received as it might have been. Some is downright dumbfounding, like the Coca-Cola Boombox. Designed by London-based architects Asif Khan and Pernilla Ohrstedt, the Boombox is a visual cacophony of red and white lit panels, but it does have a cool interactive feature: it can be played like an instrument. But, in an added dose of oddity, the sounds it plays are not typical tones, but instead samples from Mark Ronson's "Anywhere in the World," the official Olympic song. The Coca-Cola press release calls the Boombox a "spectacular Olympic Park pavilion that will inspire visitors to Move to the Beat of London 2012," but spectators are more likely to admire the odd architecture and then move away from the annoying random sound generator.
? Zaha Hadid's selection for the Sterling Prize was met by a "collective groan," but that didn't stop her Aquatics Center from being built. Though the swooping structure has actually seen some praise, the Olympic organizers "forgot" to invite the architect to the Games, including the events held in the center she designed. Of course, that might have something to do with the fact that the place was one of the most expensive structures of its kind, costing $417M and eight years to build.
? This year's Serpentine Pavilion is receiving extra attention thanks to the Olympics, and thanks to its high-profile designers: starchitects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron and Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei. The result is not some tower or other giant structure, but instead a modest hole in the ground, literally, topped by a water-collecting roof and filled with stools and seats that look something like an archaeologic dig.
? How to you try to steal some of the spotlight when you're England's richest resident and the Olympics come to town? Well, if you're Lakshmi Mittal, you spend an estimated $25M of your own money on the ArcelorMittal Orbit, a twisting steel structure that looks like a roller coaster, but isn't even half as fun. All this hideous, bright red tower can do is provide a slightly better vantage point from which to view some of the other architectural oddities in town. Hey, at least when you're looking out of it, you don't have to look at it. Sadly, it was designed by the talented Anish Kapoor.
? When charged with designing the Shooting Venue for the Olympics, Magma Architecture was also tasked with making the structure adaptable for future use. The team found a way around that, by building a tent instead. Given that the building is temporary, they could also run wild with the design, creating a pristine white box punctuated with brightly-colored polka dots.
· Coca-Cola Beatbox [Dezeen]
· London 2012 Olympics: It’s rude not to invite me to aquatic centre, says Zaha Hadid [Evening Standard]
· Serpentine Gallery Pavilion [Guardian]
· Anish Kapoor’s Recycled Steel ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower Provides Views of London’s Olympic Park [Inhabitat]
· London Shooting Venue [Architizer]