Uniting the city
Los Angeles was the only city to bid for the 1984 Olympics. Following a string of disasters in Munich in 1972, Montreal in 1976 and Moscow in 1980, no city was willing to take the risks. Los Angeles itself was so afraid of losing money, city council passed a resolution that no municipal funds could be spent on the Games. Faced with the challenge of organizing the 1984 Olympics with little time or money, Chairman Peter Ueberroth turned to JERDE to design the Games.
At a Glance
First Annual City Legacy Award, American Institute of Architects - Los Angeles Chapter
Because Los Angeles is really a collection of cities without an overarching, dominant style, there was a need to create a signature that was bold, repetitive, and reusable. The solution was to create a "kit of parts" – a collection of inexpensive, lightweight design parts that carried through every element – to be used in everything from major facilities to sports equipment, highway signs to event programs, even judges' blazers.
The mammoth undertaking was carried out in an old car dealership in East Los Angeles, and involved 600 people at its peak. JERDE selected 30 teams of architects, designers, and artists – working together – to shape the 75 Olympic sites. This "co-creative" process involving multiple disciplines and craftspeople, all working together toward a common goal – is still implemented by JERDE in many of its projects to this day.
JERDE's solution integrated 130 venues scattered across Southern California and transformed the city of Los Angeles into a cohesive Olympic community that was televised to half the world's population. For the first time the City looked like a city – it had a design theme that ran through all of its districts. There was a sense of human spirit alive in the City. The project also kept to the budget, helping achieve the first profitable Olympics in nearly 50 years.