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International contest announced for new east London ‘Olympicopolis’

A major international design competition is to be launched for a ‘landmark’ cultural and educational campus on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, east London

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced today (21 July) he had begun a ‘global hunt for top design talent’ to deliver his proposed ‘Olympicopolis’ on the former London 2012 site.

His vision for the new campus next to the Stratford Waterfront site, which was inspired by the 86 acre Albertopolis around Exhibition Road in South Kensington, includes new outposts for the Victoria and Albert Museum, Sadler’s Wells and the University of the Arts London.

Backed by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) and organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants, the two-stage competition will begin with an open first phase seeking expressions of interest from multi-disciplinary teams including architects, master planners, place makers, engineers and landscape designers.

The full brief and registration details will be released in September.

Dennis Hone chief executive of the LLDC said: ‘This is a unique opportunity for the world’s best architects and designers to be part of and create one of the most exciting projects in the next few years.

‘The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is already home to award winning architecture and some of the best design in the world. Our new cultural and educational quarter will be no exception.’

Paul Finch, deputy chair of the Design Council and jury chairman, added: ‘This presents a terrific opportunity for a significant public landmark building complex, a cultural complement to the outstanding sports architecture on the Olympic Park.

The competition  is certain to attract architects of the highest calibre, and it will be a privilege and pleasure to take part in the selection process.’

It is understood five finalists will be chosen with a winner expected to be announced in March 2015.

Click here to register for more information.

Other comments:

Moira Gemmill, director of Design and FuturePlan at the V&A:
‘The V&A’s purpose is to make people think about design. It exists to encourage everyone to care about design and the impact it has on all our lives. This message begins with the building. Design is extremely powerful. It can change people’s perception of a place. It can bring great economic benefit. The ambition for the V&A in Stratford is to embody these principles in a great 21st century museum building within a great 21st century development. As we finalise our architectural brief we look forward to the international competition that will seek out the very best talent to design an extraordinary V&A for the future.’

Alistair Spalding, artistic director and chief executive at Sadler’s Wells:
‘This is a great opportunity for dance and for this area of London. We are looking forward to working with the LLDC and the other project partner organisations to make this exciting prospect a reality.’

Malcolm Reading of Malcolm Reading Consultants:
‘An international architectural search of this scale is a great way to draw out talent and innovation from the architectural community. While full details of the competition will be unveiled in September, we hope that over the summer, architects and masterplanners will start thinking about their ideal team and earmarking time for the contest in their autumn schedules.’

Previous story (AJ 05.12.13)

National Infrastructure Plan proposes Stratford ‘Olympicopolis’

A new cultural and education quarter dubbed ‘Olympicopolis’ is being planned for the London Olympic Park in Stratford.

Under the plans unveiled in yesterday’s National Infrastructure Plan (NIP), University College London and the Victoria and Albert Museum would create new hubs at the site between the Olympic stadium and Stratford station.

UCL is considering building a culture and heritage centre, a design school and other learning facilities and the V&A may move part of its collection and house temporary exhibitions at the new development.

Boris Johnson said: ‘We want to use Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as a catalyst for the industries and technologies in which London now leads the world in order to create thousands of new jobs.’

The name Olympicopolis is a spin on Albertopolis, the name given to the slew of museums and galleries that sprang up under Prince Albert’s guidance around Exhibition Road following the 1851 Great Exhibition.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Here is a video review of the Olympic Park in 2014 by two landscape architects http://www.gardenvisit.com/blog/2014/07/09/queen-elizabeth-ii-olympic-park-london-a-review-of-the-landscape-architecture-by-robert-holden-and-tom-turner/ with the summary comment 'Our fundamental point is that ‘the landscape planning is much better than the landscape design’. The landscape planning includes the opening up of the River Lea in the northern section of the park, the habitat-creation strategy and the park’s excellent links with its hinterland. The landscape design is dominated by vast pedestrian concourses which will be busy during events but will resemble unused airport runways on every other occasion. There is some good garden-type planting but it has not been used to make ‘gardens’: it is used more like strips of planting beside highways.'

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