Driving the construction of the £125million project has been project director Tom Doyle, who moved to Glasgow after being
involved helping London prepare for one of the world’s largest sporting events – the 2012 Olympics.
He was a project director on venues for the shooting, white water canoeing and rowing events before spending a couple of years as
one of the project directors working on the Olympic Stadium.
Mr Doyle hardly had time to draw breath before
moving to Glasgow to oversee the construction of
And he says he can see similarities between
the two cities, with the Commonwealth Games just around the corner for Glasgow.
Mr Doyle said: “The
Commonwealth Games venues have been taking shape and the buzz in the city is starting to build in
a way that echoes what happened in London.
“The 2014 Games venues are fantastic and The
Hydro is the jewel in the crown.
“It will take up to 13,000 people and will be one of the top five venues worldwide through numbers of tickets sold based on us
doing 140 events a year.
“Everything I have been doing is in support of it
being a top five venue in the same bracket as Madison Square Gardens in New York and the O2 Arena in London”
The early design work on The Hydro, which was the idea of architect Sir
Norman Foster, started about 10 years ago.
But it was February last year before the contractor Land Lease, one of the world’s leading project management and construction companies, moved on site. It was the firm behind the £86million London Olympics East Village project.
Mr Doyle said: “Forth Electrical Services supplied lots of the electrical and
hi-tech items, so we have had the best of British, all of whom have come from similar ambitious jobs
“But when we needed top tier world expertise, we got it. For example, Sony has provided public information systems and screens inside the venue.
“Each detail of each seat has been worked on by a Spanish supplier working in partnership with Sir Norman Foster and Partners.
“They have come up with a seat specially designed for our guests at the Hydro. They are tough and durable because we want them to look good for a long time.
“We have had welders, landscape gardeners and specialist rope access teams, so we have had a real mix of different talents and skills.
“Some days, we have had 800 guys working on the building and even on Saturdays we have had hundreds of workers coming in. The building has been flooded with workmen.”
He admits he is now chomping at the bit to put on a show and describes working on The Hydro as a privilege and great fun.
He said: “This will be the best venue in Glasgow in terms of acoustics and there is a new 1600 space car park that is clean, safe, secure and well lit, with a new bridge link that takes you over and into The Hydro.”
Mr Doyle could be
forgiven for spending next Monday’s opening night of the venue sitting in the audience enjoying the fruits of his labours.
But he said: “On opening night I will be running around back stage doing whatever I am needed to do.
“I would love to be there with a glass of champagne, but the focus will be making sure opening night is memorable.
“There will be no time to take a breath for months because we are already thinking and talking about the 2014 Games so I have no holidays booked.
“In this project, I have been lucky enough to meet some really talented, sparky people. That has helped to build confidence and there is every confidence The Hydro will be a success.”
One of his few moments in crisis with the construction came earlier this year when Rod Stewart visited Glasgow to see the venue.
Mr Doyle said: “It was a sunny, winter day but the white lines had been painted only about 30 minutes before and I was really worried he would walk away with paint on his expensive shoes.”
What is worrying the venue supremo now is getting
tickets for the 2014 Games.
He said: “I am excited about the Commonwealth Games and need the Hydro finished so I can sort out my ticket strategy. I am now more
worried about getting my Games tickets than The
“By pure luck, my wife and
I got tickets for Super Saturday at the Olympics. I had been working on the Olympic
Stadium for two years and have a bit of turf from the centre of the stadium in my garden.
“But the Olympics only had one Super Saturday and
The Hydro has decades of that ahead of it.
“When Rod takes the stage for the first concert the fans are going to take the roof off because we have given them a venue that is purpose-built.”