French industrial group Bouygues is poised to land the contract to develop the Olympic Aquatics Centre (CAO), one of only two new permanent venues for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, with the price tag for the project registering a significant increase.

Plans for the CAO, which will be located opposite the Stade de France, have been unveiled with the Métropole du Grand Paris (MGP), owner of the facility, announcing that the contract is set to be assigned to Bouygues at a meeting scheduled for May 15. The MGP said Bouygues’ proposal was ranked first due to its architectural quality, functionality and environmental considerations.

The CAO is lined up to host artistic swimming, diving and water polo events at Paris 2024, with ‘Arena 2’ at Porte de la Chapelle set to be the only other new permanent venue developed for the Games. In its bid documents for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Paris 2024 outlined that the CAO would cost €111.2m (£97.2m/$122.2m), but the price tag has now swollen to €174.7m.

Explaining the reasons for the cost increase, Solideo, the public company overseeing the development of the Olympic Games sites, pointed to inflation and effects linked to the economic situation concerning the construction industry in France. The MGP has also elected to invest an extra €20m for a legacy project intended to add a park open to the general public post-Games, with a climbing wall, fitness areas, skate park and sports fields. Solideo told the AFP news agency that “the costs remain under control”.

Wood will be to the fore when it comes to the design of the complex. It will feature a concept unseen at any previous Olympic Games, with two pools separated by a mobile platform. A third 50m training pool will be attached to the centre for the duration of the Games. The CAO will have a capacity of 6,000 seats for Paris 2024, before being scaled back to 2,500 after the Games.

With a forecast duration of 26 months, work on the CAO and a bridge connecting the complex to the Stade de France, is expected to begin in the summer of 2021 with completion targeted for the end of 2023.

In March, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved Paris 2024’s innovative plan to showcase urban sports at the Olympic Games at an arena developed on the Place de la Concorde. The organising committee for the Games in the French capital first announced plans for a new 35,000-seat arena back in December, stating it would provide a “totally new experience” and attract “new types of spectators”.

The temporary arena will be located in the Place de la Concorde square, which connects the Champs-Elysées to the Tuileries Gardens.

Meanwhile, the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) has published its sustainability pre-Games report, highlighting details of how it plans to deliver a sustainable event and outlining progress made on ventures undertaken last year.

Tokyo 2020 is now reshaping its plans for the Games after it was announced in March that the COVID-19 pandemic means the Olympics, originally scheduled for this summer in the Japanese capital, will now take place from July 23 to August 8, 2021.

The IOC this month said securing the venues planned for Tokyo 2020 is the key priority for a taskforce established to map out the rescheduled event next year, adding that stakeholders face a “massive undertaking” to complete their mission. Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori this week said 2021 is the only option to stage the rescheduled Games, adding that they would be “scrapped” if they cannot take place next year.

Tokyo 2020 published Version 2 of its Sustainability Plan in June 2018, focusing on the various initiatives undertaken in alignment with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The latest report was originally due to be issued on March 30, only to be put on hold due to the postponement of the Games.

The Sustainability Pre-Games Report was prepared in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards: Core option, a set of international standards governing sustainability reporting. Key activities and achievements covered in the report include the implementation of multi-faceted initiatives in new permanent venues and facilities.

Tokyo 2020 noted that in addition to ensuring accessibility and using energy-saving technologies including the next-generation building energy management system (BEMS), the new Olympic Stadium features passive design such as large eaves and terraces that control wind flow and let in the summer breeze.

Tokyo 2020 is aiming to achieve 100% renewable energy for the electricity used to power the Games, via procurement from renewable energy sources and the use of a tradable green certification system. The renewable energy mix will be from clearly identified power sources, and will include electricity from the areas affected by the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami.

Tokyo 2020 highlighted the use of hydrogen energy, in line with Japan’s transition to a hydrogen-based economy. In addition to the 500 fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) that will be used at Games time, provided by Worldwide Olympic Partner Toyota, hydrogen will be used as the fuel for the Olympic and Paralympic cauldrons and torches during part of their journey through Japan. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government will also use hydrogen energy in some of the Olympic/Paralympic Village facilities.

The 3Rs concept (‘reduce, reuse, recycle’) will also be promoted at Tokyo 2020 venues. Amongst other initiatives, recyclable paper containers for meals will be provided to spectators to encourage their use rather than single-use plastics. Tokyo 2020 will also promote proper waste sorting to achieve its target of reusing and recycling 65% of Games-time waste.

At the beginning of March, the Tokyo 2020 organising committee announced that all new permanent venues for the Games had been completed. The Tokyo Aquatics Centre was the final permanent venue to be completed on schedule at the end of February.

Images: VenhoevenCS & Ateliers 2/3/4/