Design: A Festive Moment, Not an Epic

Two Americans create a bright, breezy look for the Olympics

If there were a special gold medal for creative ingenuity, the U.S. Olympic design team should win it.

With limited time and scant money, it transformed a scattered, dowdy assortment of obsolete and makeshift facilities into a unified, colorful and festive setting for the Los Angeles Games. And all without major investment in new buildings. "Even the simplest new structures would have cost at least $500 million," says Ed Keen, the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee's construction boss. "We couldn't afford such white elephants. So we decided to adapt 26 old athletic facilities—some...

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