An outdoor concrete track built in 1991, this 5,200-seat facility reopened for the 2004 Games, after an extensive renovation by Santiago Calatrava, FAIA. The venue for track cycling events, it features a 250-meter banked track covered in Afzelia wood and a retractable roof supported by steel cables affixed to two swooping archesstructures that recall Calatravas Zubizuri footbridge in Bilbao, Spain. Many facilities in the Athens Olympics Sports Complex have fallen into disrepair, but the Velodrome remains in frequent use on the European track cycling circuit.

Athens 2004
An outdoor concrete track built in 1991, this 5,200-seat facility reopened for the 2004 Games, after an extensive renovation by Santiago Calatrava, FAIA. The venue for track cycling events, it features a 250-meter banked track covered in Afzelia wood and a retractable roof supported by steel cables affixed to two swooping arches—structures that recall Calatrava’s Zubizuri footbridge in Bilbao, Spain. Many facilities in the Athens Olympics Sports Complex have fallen into disrepair, but the Velodrome remains in frequent use on the European track cycling circuit.

Credit: Jon Pack

When Brooklyn-based photographer Jon Pack heard that Beijing had spent $42 billion on infrastructure to host the 2008 Summer Olympics, he had one question: What happens to those buildings, and to the city, after the Games? To find out, he set off to photograph the structures left behind in the former Olympic host cities closest to him, Montreal, Quebec, and Lake Placid, N.Y.

Soon, his friend Gary Hustwit, the documentary filmmaker behind Helvetica and Urbanized, became interested, and the two raised $66,000 on Kickstarter to document the afterlives of 14 host cities. Their photographs from those excursions are now collected in The Olympic City, a 200-page coffee-table book designed by Paul Sahre, with an introduction by The New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman. Among the pictures are an Olympic Village that became a prison (1980 Lake Placid Games), ski jumps that became the backdrop for executions (1984 Sarajevo Games), and a blighted waterfront that became a bustling marina (1992 Barcelona Games). On display throughout are the effects of war, weather, decay, regime change, neglect, and urban renewal.

Here we present a selection of photographs from The Olympic City—an ongoing project that will continue, we hope, with a look at Rio after 2016. 

The best view of Barcelona may be from the high dive of the Montju¯c Municipal Pool, the hilltop site of the diving events and the water polo preliminaries in 1992. The facility opened for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition, and was tabbed as a venue for the anti-fascist Olympics, a proposed alternative to the 1936 Berlin Games that was canceled due to the Spanish Civil War. For the 92 Games, a large part of Montju¯c was renovated under the supervision of architects Federico Correa and Alfonso Milá. The pool hosted the diving competition for the 2013 World Aquatics Championships.

Barcelona 1992
The best view of Barcelona may be from the high dive of the Montjuïc Municipal Pool, the hilltop site of the diving events and the water polo preliminaries in 1992. The facility opened for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition, and was tabbed as a venue for the anti-fascist Olympics, a proposed alternative to the 1936 Berlin Games that was canceled due to the Spanish Civil War. For the ’92 Games, a large part of Montjuïc was renovated under the supervision of architects Federico Correa and Alfonso Milá. The pool hosted the diving competition for the 2013 World Aquatics Championships.

Credit: Jon Pack


Barcelonas gateway to the sea, the Olympic Port hosted the 1992 sailing competitions. Before the Games, the waterfront had been cut off from the city by a stretch of largely abandoned factories, warehouses, and junkyards on the southern end of Poblenou, a blighted industrial neighborhood once known, when its textile mills were thriving, as the Catalan Manchester. The renovation of the waterfront, designed by Barcelona firm Martorell Bohigas Mackay, was supplemented by the construction of what remain the two tallest buildings in Barcelona, the mixed-use tower Torre Mapfre and the Hotel Arts, designed by Colombian architect Bruce Graham of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. At its foot stands Frank Gehrys stainless-steel goldfish sculpture, which he created for the Games. Today the marina, home to the citys Municipal Sailing School, is known for its tapas bars and discos.

Barcelona 1992
Barcelona’s gateway to the sea, the Olympic Port hosted the 1992 sailing competitions. Before the Games, the waterfront had been cut off from the city by a stretch of largely abandoned factories, warehouses, and junkyards on the southern end of Poblenou, a blighted industrial neighborhood once known, when its textile mills were thriving, as the “Catalan Manchester.” The renovation of the waterfront, spearheaded by Barcelona firm Martorell Bohigas Mackay, was supplemented by the construction of what remain the two tallest buildings in Barcelona: the mixed-use tower Torre Mapfre, and the Hotel Arts, designed by Colombian architect Bruce Graham of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. At the foot of the hotel, which housed Olympic athletes, stands Frank Gehry’s stainless-steel goldfish sculpture, which was commissioned for the Games. Today the marina, home to the city’s Municipal Sailing School, is known for its tapas bars and discos.

Credit: Jon Pack


Olympic plush toys collected in a pile at Olympic Green Park in Beijing, site of the 2008 Summer Games.

Beijing 2008
Olympic plush toys collected in a pile at Olympic Green Park in Beijing, site of the 2008 Summer Games.

Credit: Jon Pack and Gary Hustwit


Located in the Brandenburg countryside outside Berlin, this cluster of 142 cottages housed 4,000 male athletes during the Games (female athletes stayed at a separate facility). German architect Werner March, designer of Berlins Olympic Stadium, created the master plan for the village, which the Germany military converted into a hospital during World War II. A scene of intense fighting between the Wehrmacht and the Red Army in 1945, it fell into the postwar Soviet zone of occupation, and became an interrogation facility for counter-intelligence agencies. Today, signs on the security fence warn of unexploded munitions. Though the Soviets tore down most of the athletes cottages, the one occupied by Jesse Owens has been restored.

Berlin 1936
Located in the Brandenburg countryside outside Berlin, this cluster of 142 cottages housed 4,000 male athletes during the Games (female athletes stayed at a separate facility). German architect Werner March, designer of Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, created the master plan for the village, which the Germany military converted into a hospital during World War II. A scene of intense fighting between the Wehrmacht and the Red Army in 1945, it fell into the postwar Soviet zone of occupation, and became an interrogation facility for counter-intelligence agencies. Today, signs on the security fence warn of unexploded munitions. Though the Soviets tore down most of the athletes’ cottages, the one occupied by Jesse Owens has been restored.

Credit: Jon Pack and Gary Hustwit


This birds eye photograph depicts the view from the tower of the Helsinki Olympic Stadium, where the Olympic Flame burned during the 1952 Games. (The height of the tower, 236 feet, commemorates the distance of Finnish javelin thrower Matti J¤rvinens world record at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.) Designed in the functionalist style by Finnish architects Toivo J¤ntti and Yrj¶ Lindegren, the stadium, completed in 1938, was scheduled to host the 1940 Olympics before they were cancelled by the onset of World War II. A food storage facility during the war, the stadium was renovated in 1950 by Lindegren, who added canted wooden walls to the exterior in the style of those cladding his colleague Alvar Aaltos Finnish Pavilion at the 1939 World Fair in New York. Temporary wooden stands brought the stadiums capacity to 70,000 for the Games opening and closing ceremonies, track and field events, soccer semifinals and final, and equestrian show jumping. In the years since, the stadium has hosted concerts and track meets, in addition to serving as the home of the Finnish national soccer team.

Helsinki 1952
This bird’s eye photograph depicts the view from the tower of the Helsinki Olympic Stadium, where the Olympic Flame burned during the 1952 Games. (The height of the tower, 236 feet, commemorates the distance of Finnish javelin thrower Matti Järvinen’s world record at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.) Designed in the functionalist style by Finnish architects Toivo Jäntti and Yrjö Lindegren, the stadium, completed in 1938, was scheduled to host the 1940 Olympics before they were cancelled by the onset of World War II. A food storage facility during the war, the stadium was renovated in 1950 by Lindegren, who added canted wooden walls to the exterior in the style of those cladding his colleague Alvar Aalto’s Finnish Pavilion at the 1939 World's Fair in New York. Temporary wooden stands brought the stadium’s capacity to 70,000 for the Games’ opening and closing ceremonies, track and field events, soccer semifinals and final, and equestrian show jumping. In the years since, the stadium has hosted concerts and track meets, in addition to serving as the home of the Finnish national soccer team.

Credit: Jon Pack


A cell in the Adirondack Correctional Facility. The facility was adapted from housing used by Olympic officials during the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Lake Placid 1980
A cell in the Adirondack Correctional Facility. The facility was adapted from housing used by Olympic officials during the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Credit: Jon Pack


Street art in Hackney Wick, a working-class, East London neighborhood where part of the Olympic Park was sited, offers a blunt take on the Games. Anti-Olympic sentiment among street artists came to a head in July 2012, when British Transport Police arrested four ex-graffiti artists on suspicion of conspiracy to commit criminal damage. For his part, Bansky, the world-famous graffiti artist, had critiqued Britains increased military presence for the Games with Hackney Welcomes the Olympics, an image of a javelin thrower hurling a missile.

London 2012
Street art in Hackney Wick, a working-class, East London neighborhood where part of the Olympic Park was sited, offers a blunt take on the Games. Anti-Olympic sentiment among street artists came to a head in July 2012, when British Transport Police arrested four ex-graffiti artists “on suspicion of conspiracy to commit criminal damage.” For his part, Bansky, the world-famous graffiti artist, had critiqued Britain’s increased military presence for the Games with “Hackney Welcomes the Olympics,” an image of a javelin thrower hurling a missile.

Credit: Jon Pack and Gary Hustwit


An interior image from the Glory Church of Jesus Christ, which was the Grand Olympic Auditorium during the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles 1984
An interior image from the Glory Church of Jesus Christ, which was the Grand Olympic Auditorium during the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.

Credit: Jon Pack and Gary Hustwit


Cinema in the Olympic Village in Mexico City that hosted movie nights for athletes during the 1968 Summer Games.

Mexico City 1968
Cinema in the Olympic Village in Mexico City that hosted movie nights for athletes during the 1968 Summer Games.

Credit: Jon Pack and Gary Hustwit


The Montreal Tower, designed by Roger Taillibert for the 1976 Summer Games.
.

Montreal 1976
The Montreal Tower, designed by Roger Taillibert for the 1976 Summer Games. .

Credit: Jon Pack and Gary Hustwit


The Swimming Center at the Olympic Sports Complex in Moscow, which hosted the 1980 Summer Games.

Moscow 1980
The Swimming Center at the Olympic Sports Complex in Moscow, which hosted the 1980 Summer Games.

Credit: Jon Pack and Gary Hustwit


Cleaning women take a break at the Krylatskoye Sports Complex Velodrome, which hosted the track cycling events at the 1980 Games. Designed by the Moscow Research and Design Institute for Culture, Recreation, Sports, and Health Facilities, the velodrome features a 333.3-meter track made of Siberian larch that ranks among the worlds fastest surfaces. (Its 42-degree banked turns also rank among the worlds steepest.) The facility regularly hosts international races, including the Moscow Grand Prix.

Moscow 1980
Cleaning women take a break at the Krylatskoye Sports Complex Velodrome, which hosted the track cycling events at the 1980 Games. Designed by the Moscow Research and Design Institute for Culture, Recreation, Sports, and Health Facilities, the velodrome features a 333.3-meter track made of Siberian larch that ranks among the world’s fastest surfaces. (Its 42-degree banked turns also rank among the world’s steepest.) The facility regularly hosts international races, including the Moscow Grand Prix.

Credit: Jon Pack and Gary Hustwit


At the Roses Swimming Pool, site of the elimination rounds of the water polo events at the 1960 Summer Games, Pack and Hustwit discovered an aquatics supply company advertising inflatable balls that enable their occupants to walk on water. The 50-meter reinforced-concrete pool was designed by engineer Mario Biuso and takes its name from an adjacent solarium brimming with roses. It is now Romes largest public swimming pool.

Rome 1960
At the Roses Swimming Pool, site of the elimination rounds of the water polo events at the 1960 Summer Games, Pack and Hustwit discovered an aquatics supply company advertising inflatable balls that enable their occupants to walk on water. The 50-meter reinforced-concrete pool was designed by engineer Mario Biuso and takes its name from an adjacent solarium brimming with roses. It is now Rome’s largest public swimming pool.

Credit: Jon Pack


The Igman plateau in the Dinaric Alps, overlooking Sarajevo, hosted the mens Nordic ski jump events in the 1984 Winter Games. The American Bill Johnson (downhill) and the Mahre twins (slalom) all climbed the pictured podium. But the Games were merely a peaceful interlude in a long history of violence. In the early 1990s, during the Bosnian Civil War, Serbian forces seized the mountain, dynamited the ski lifts and the Hotel Igman, and used the ski jumps as backdrops for firing-squad executions. Today, undetonated landmines remain on the slopes. Undeterred, Austrian architecture firm Hofrichter-Ritter has revealed designs for the renovation of the ski jumps and hotel.

Sarajevo 1984
The Igman plateau in the Dinaric Alps, overlooking Sarajevo, hosted the men’s Nordic ski jump events in the 1984 Winter Games. The American Bill Johnson (downhill) and the Mahre twins (slalom) all climbed the pictured podium. But the Games were merely a peaceful interlude in a long history of violence. In the early 1990s, during the Bosnian Civil War, Serbian forces seized the mountain, dynamited the ski lifts and the Hotel Igman, and used the ski jumps as backdrops for firing-squad executions. Today, undetonated landmines remain on the slopes. Undeterred, Austrian architecture firm Hofrichter-Ritter has revealed designs for the renovation of the ski jumps and hotel.

Credit: Jon Pack