Hawkins\Brown has revealed new plans to transform the London Olympic Park’s gargantuan media complex into a data centre and business space – replacing earlier designs by GMW
The AJ100 practice has been chosen to take the high-profile ‘iCITY’ project forward just five months after a lease was agreed with the Mayor of London.
The iCITY data centre and business hub project – originally drawn up by GMW – was chosen ahead of rival bids, including a fashion hub, for the enormous £355 million media complex last summer.
Commenting on the new appointment, GMW partner Chris Allwood said: ‘We are proud to have been involved in iCITY and getting it up to preferred bidder stage with the London Legacy Development Corporation and getting the lease signed.
‘We’re naturally disappointed that we are not getting involved in the project further.’
Allwood speculated the client – a joint venture between Delancey and data storage outfit Infinity SDC – appointed Hawkins\Brown to give the project a ‘creative lift’.
We’re disappointed we’re not getting involved in the project further
He added: ‘I’m not at all aware of any negative feedback from planners. [The apointment] was possibly to bring extra [to the project] rather than address any planning shortcoming.’
The iCITY project converts the 275 metre-long International Broadcast Centre (IBC) into a 28,000m² secure server farm, television studio and teaching space for Hackney Community College and Loughborough University.
Hawkins\Brown’s revised design introduces a gridded structure on the building’s east façade which will house small-scale start-up businesses.
A yard designed for community events will also be created between the broadcast centre and neighbouring 29,600m² press centre. Allotments,orchards, an apiary and retail outlets focussing on local artisan products are also planned for the development.
Hawkins\Brown partner David Bickle said: ‘These gargantuan buildings present a huge opportunity to create an entirely new neighbourhood. We were given an almost blank canvas to design something that captured and reflected East London’s creativity and soul.
‘We have taken inspiration from a vast range of sources, but not least the energy of the Olympics. We started from the point of reimagining the landscape of the former Press and Broadcast Centres to create a new space that complements the vibrancy of the Park, but also stands out as a distinct community of its own.’
iCITY chief executive Gavin Poole said: ‘These new and inspirational designs reflect our commitment and vision to develop a hub for the digital and creative industries on the Olympic Park, supporting the development of East London into one of the world’s leading technology centres.’
A consultation on the new designs will start this week with a planning application expected to follow shortly after.
The RPS Burks Green-designed complex was designed to accommodate 20,000 broadcasters, photographers and journalists during the games.
Further comment Gavin Poole, iCITY chief executive
We are extremely grateful to GMW for all their hard work and instrumental role in helping iCITY win the bid for the former Press and Broadcast Centres and secure the agreement for lease. We are looking forward to building on this work with Hawkins\Brown over the coming months.