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The Best of Olympic Architecture

By Josephine Minutillo - 2014-03-21T16:34:04Z

Photograph by George Tiedemann/GT Images/Corbis

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Olympic Stadium, Athens

2004

Like the Games themselves, the most memorable buildings created for the international sporting stage celebrate human achievement

The birthplace of the Olympics, Athens had not hosted a modern Games for more than a century (since 1896) when it finally got another shot in 2004. Plagued by rumors that the venues would not be completed in time, the Games ultimately went off without a hitch. The Greek Ministry of Culture called on Santiago Calatrava to transform an existing 75,000-seat open-air stadium for the opening and closing ceremonies. The Spanish architect left his signature on the 1982 structure with the addition of a striking roof composed of twin tubular steel arches that span 997 feet.

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