In 2013 the International Olympic Committee selected Buenos Aires to be the host of the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games. One year later, the City Government started the planning and management process for the construction of an Olympic Village, with a team especially created for this purpose.
In compliance with the essential philosophy of all Olympic Games – “to identify post-Games legacy uses […] and benefits for years to come to the city and its people” – the Buenos Aires City Government carried out an holistic research and implementation plan that was rooted within local urban and social necessities. With some of the lowest indicators of human development and quality of life, the south of the city was already an object of interest and in the midst of a transformation process.
The City Government’s project for the conversion of the Athletes’ Village into affordable housing (1,200 new homes) was planned in cooperation with the Institute of Housing of the City. The institute’s focus in determining selection criteria for post-occupancy habitation was aimed at ensuring that required loans would be granted as follows: 80% for the district’s residents, 10% for teachers and a final 10% for police officers. Owners will begin occupying their homes in March 2019.
Out of the total 100 hectares covered by the former park, 49 hectares were reserved for a new system of green areas. Approximately 20 hectares were selected for urban development and housing. The Olympic Village covers 3.5 hectares, combining 31 buildings and open spaces such as boulevards, streets and plazas. The overall project is much larger, incorporating brand-new infrastructure (water supply, sewage, electrical grid, fiber optic and road systems) for a total area of 9.7 hectares. In order to ensure a consistent planning and construction process, in 2016 the City passed a special law for the Olympic Village Master Plan, regulating new urban and social requirements and defining the district’s long-term development goals. Based on the new land use plan, the area incorporates more and new green spaces and ground-floor retail.
The buildings (seven and nine-stories tall) were the result of five separate national competitions. Their objective was to achieve differing architectural designs for the five different blocks.
The landscape plan’s main goal was to create as many absorptive surfaces as possible to capture and store rainwater and reduce irrigation needs and peak runoff during rain events. The project incorporated all kinds of impervious surfaces and green infrastructure for rainwater harvesting; the most relevant being the drainage planters built along the full length of the building facades, as well as the large central gardens with their slightly recessed ground level compared to the enclosing streets. The planters and the central gardens collect and direct the stormwater runoff into the city’s drainage system. Most of the large trees, specimens of native species that previously existed on site, were preserved.
The construction works lasted for exactly 26 months. During the first week of October 2018, when crowds of young athletes from all parts of the world arrived, the site had a fresh and complete appearance. In the future, locals will enjoy and benefit from this amenity.
Location: City of Buenos Aires, Argentina
Idea and project design: City Government of Buenos Aires / Ministry of Urban Design and Transportation (MUDyT): Minister Franco Moccia
Project planning, management and implementation: Director of Special Projects’ Unit: Maria Florencia Piñero Villar
Landscape plan director: Estela Viarenghi / Design Team: Subsecretary of projects (MUDyT)
Building design: Winning teams of the five Competitions
Total area: 3.5 hectares (Village) / 9.7 hectares (new urban infrastructure systems)
Date of completion: August 2018 (First Stage: Olympic Village)