The Summer Olympic Games in London will use a mixture of permanent structures and temporary venues built specifically for use during the Olympics.
One of the eight temporary venues will feature the men's and women's beach volleyball events; all the beach volleyball events for the Olympics and Paralympics will take place in the temporary structure at Horse Guards Parade. The venue is the home base of the British Army regiment responsible for protecting the Monarch and Royal Palaces in London. London's landmarks, such as the London Eye, will provide the backdrop for the beach volleyball events.
Horse Guards Parade is now part of St. James's Royal Park, and is located close to The Mall, St. James's Palace and Buckingham Palace. An army regiment has been housed on the site since 1641, when King Charles I created a group of soldiers responsible for his personal protection.
In May 1660, following the restoration of the British Monarchy, King Charles II created a series of army regiments with the responsibility of protecting the Monarchy. In 1663, the first Horse Guards Parade building was commissioned on the current site in Central London, according to Trooping the Colour.
The current building that forms the backdrop of the beach volleyball event was designed in 1745; the design was commissioned owing to dangers from the disrepair of the original Horse Guards Parade barracks. King George II commissioned a design by William Kent, with construction overseen by his assistant John Vardy after the death of Kent. The design uses the façade of the original building; the age and historical importance of Horse Guards Parade make it a historically protected building. Horse Guards Parade is used each year for Royal events such as Trooping the Colour and celebrating the Queen's official birthday.
As a temporary structure, the beach volleyball stadium at Horse Guards Parade will be taken down following the completion of the Olympics and Paralympics in 2012. The entire structure will be removed, and the building and grounds returned to their original state.
The design and construction of the venue has been overseen by Drivers Jonas Deloitte and Atkins and Populous, The Daily Telegraph reports. Important Royal events staged on the site during 2012 meant the construction of the beach volleyball venue did not begin until June 18, 2012, leaving only 36 days for the construction of the volleyball court, practice courts, media areas and competitor and spectator facilities.
Beach volleyball at the 2012 Olympic Games begins on July 28 and ends with the men's medal games on Aug. 9.
Around 4,115 tons of sand have been moved into the Horse Guards Parade area to create a center court, two warmup courts and six practice courts, according to The Daily Telegraph. The sand has been moved into Central London from a quarry at Godstone, Surrey, England. Horse Guards Parade will provide seating and facilities for 15,000 spectators.
Paul Cartmell has covered the 2004 Athens Olympics and 2008 Beijing Games for local newspapers and websites. Cartmell is also an amateur cyclist and soccer coach.