Ranking The Architecture Of The 2014 Winter Olympics

More skating palaces!

Thousands of the best athletes in the world have descended on Sochi, Russia, for the 2014 Winter Olympics, ready to duke it out for international acclaim and a one-pound metal disk. In the run-up to the actual sports, though, no one really wanted to talk about the folks who might be taking the podium. Nope, the main focus was on how effing expensive these Olympics have been.


They’ve run Russia some $50 billion, between new infrastructure, rampant corruption, and artificial snow. But at least a few billion dollars have been sunk into building Sochi a whole host of new venues, from colorful (if mildly unfinished) hotels to a new curling center.

In honor of the competitive spirit of the Olympics, I present the official architecture of the Olympics, ranked according to my expert (read: totally arbitrary) notions of “awesomeness.” Let the Games begin!

9. IOC Hotel

I think I’ve passed this Radisson on a Midwestern highway somewhere.


8. Ice Cube Curling Center

Great name aside, this place looks like a metal Fruit by the Foot. According to organizers, the simplicity of the design “symbolizes democracy,” which maybe says something about how boring they think democracy is. Bonus points for all those accessibility ramps, though. Wheelchair curling looks awesome.

7. Fisht Olympic Stadium

The renderings for this baby looked supreme. But that could have been because they were super shiny. In real life, the shape–meant to evoke snowy mountain peaks–is eye-catching, but it’ll never live up to my hopes and dreams.

6. Adler Arena Speedskating Center

Lit up at night, this place looks awesome. During the day, it looks like an air-conditioning unit. Boo.


5. Shayba Arena

Named after a hockey puck, it’s another swirly, sleek building with a semi-translucent facade. Medium cool.

4. Media Hotel

A pretty paint job is definitely more important than running water and completed construction. Extra points for prioritizing aesthetics!

3.Main Olympic Village

Yeah, you own that “beautiful subtropical resort” look, Sochi.


2.Bolshoy Ice Dome

Roughly translated, the name means “big ice dome,” so that’s a win in my book. The 12,000-seat hockey arena is designed to look like a frozen droplet, or a Fabergé egg, but I would characterize it more as a spaceship. A giant hockey spaceship that’s about to go sliding into the net of your heart.

1. Iceberg Skating Palace

This is the most majestic skating palace I’ve ever seen. Gold medal!

1. Runner-up: Vladimir Putin’s chest

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About the author

Shaunacy Ferro is a Brooklyn-based writer covering architecture, urban design and the sciences. She's on a lifelong quest for the perfect donut