London's curious Olympic monument

Player utilities

Listen to the Story.

Audio Transcript:

The World's Alex Collins reports on the controversial design for a new Olympic monument in London. The monument is meant to attract tourists to East London well after the 2012 Summer Olympics. But many Londoners think it's just plain ugly.

MARCO WERMAN: Londoners are getting used to all the Olympic construction ahead of the 2012 Games there. New structures are starting to rise up all over the east London skyline. Most are uncontroversial, things like stadiums, or housing for the athletes, but the design for a new Olympic monument has really gotten tongues wagging in the British capital. The World's Alex Collins has the story.

ALEX COLLINS: The brief from the Mayor was simple. Build a tower on the Olympic site that will be a global tourist destination for decades to come. No small task then. But after whittling it down from over 50 designs, London's Mayor Boris Johnson has finally spoken. Standing taller than the Statue of Liberty, London's residents will be able gaze upon a giant red tangled metal structure. It's unconventional in design, its spiraling mass incorporates the five Olympic rings into its design. It's called the ArclorMittal Orbit. But it's unlikely that the name will last long. Mayor Johnson is well aware of Londoners habits of renaming structures.

MAYOR BORIS JOHNSON: Some may choose to think of it as the Colossus of Stratford. Some eyes may detect a combobulus, a giant treble clef, a helter skelter, a supersize mutant trombone, some may even see the world's biggest ever representation of a shish pipe.

COLLINS: When I traveled the streets of Stratford, local residents found it no trouble to come up with some new names for the structure. Most less than flattering. Do you think it's beautiful?

FEMALE VOICE 1: No. No it's just a mess.

MALE VOICE 1: How would I describe it? The monstrosity of Stratford I think.

COLLINS: How would you describe it to someone.

MALE VOICE 1: Well it looks like a cheap sort of roller coaster that has just sort of been thrown together. It's sort of like something you'd expect to find in Romania in the Chycheskow period. It's pretty poor, it's really ugly.

COLLINS: Artist Anish Kapoor who designed the structure he hoped his artwork would generate a feeling of instability in the viewer. It seems some residents are being more colorful with their language when describing London's latest Olympic monument. For The World, I'm Alex Collins in London.