British Architects and Artists Protest Olympic Marketing Ban

This week, Architects, engineers and Artists, who worked on the 2012 Olympic Games, staged a protest to highlight the heavy handed tactics employed by the Olympic Governing body.

They were objecting to the strict contractual rules, hidden in the fine print of their contracts as a ‘No Marketing Rights Protocol’. This clause reserves all Olympics-related self-promotion to the most important official sponsors like Coca Cola and McDonalds but forbid the third tiered sponsors like established architects from entering international design competitions with their Olympic related commissions. 40 others are officially banned from capitalising on their work. Speaking at RIBA’s Portland Place headquarters after unfurling a banner containing the names of all the architects that have worked on the Olympic Games, RIBA president Angela Brady called upon the government to act to “lift the gag” covering all those who have worked on the 2012 Games.

The Royal Institute of British Architects dropped a list of Olympic contributors from the window of their headquarters, officially joining the protest against the ban on any self-promotion related to their Olympic contributions. The firm that designed the  basketball arena, Wilkinson Eyre, were denied the right to submit the arena to various architectural awards. “When the government called for businesses involved in the Olympics to promote themselves overseas to support the British economy it seems crazy that architects, consultants and other suppliers to the Olympics are gagged in this draconian way,” Peter Murray said at Friday’s name-dropping, according to a statement.

The founder of Blueprint magazine and Chairman of New London Architecture was there to assist RIBA president Angela Brady and Institute of Structural Engineers president John Nolan. Since the Creative Industries Summit at the end of July, Murray has been sporting a T-shirt with the names of all of the architects of the Olympic Park in protest. “Privately, ministers suggest that architects should ignore the ban, but [they] will not say so publicly,” Murray told British design blog Dezeen. And the window of time for architects to take advantage of the Olympic wave is very narrow. “A report by the former chairman of the ODA [Olympic Delivery Authority] has recommended that the ban should be lifted, but the Government says that cannot happen until next year, by which time it will be too late as the world’s attention will have shifted to Rio.”

Photo: Courtesy Peter Murray, RIBA President Angela Brady and John Nolan of ISE at the ‘name drop’ of Olympic architects:

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