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No New Year Honours for Olympic architects

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This year’s honours failed to recognize a single architect who worked on the Olympics

The annual raft of high profile awards celebrated athletes and games organisers but overlooked the profession despite its key role designing the 246-hectare Olympic Park.

Conservationist Rodney Melville was the only architect to receive an honour, becoming an OBE.

LOCOG chair Seb Coe was made a companion of honour and a swathe of awards were given to top London 2012 athletes including cyclists Bradley Wiggins and Victoria Pendleton.

Aquatics Centre designer Zaha Hadid was made a dame shortly before the games however designers of other iconic stadiums have yet to be recognised.

The blow comes after architects were forbidden from marketing their role in the multi-billion project during the Games.

NLA director Peter Murray, who led the campaign against the marketing ban, blasted the government’s failure to recognise architects, suggesting AECOM’s Jason Prior and Velodrome designer Mike Taylor of Hopkins should have knighthoods ‘at the very least’.

He said: ‘This is really quite shocking, but par for the course with this administration.

‘The lack of recognition given to those that created the park and the buildings that worked so well is in part due to the ridiculous restrictions on the Marketing Protocols enforced by LOCOG.

This is really quite shocking, but par for the course with this administration

‘I wait with eager anticipation Hugh Robertson’s promised announcement that the restriction would be lifted in the New Year.’

Chris Romer-Lee of Studio Octopi however questioned whether Olympic Park architects ‘really expected’ to win gongs. ‘This is one of many [projects] they’ll work on, it’s the portfolio of an architect’s work that should be honoured not just one project.’

Graham Morrison of Allies and Morrison, which played a key role masterplanning the park and Olympic legacy, said architects had already reaped their own rewards.

He said: ‘People should be honoured for truly exceptional service. Those architects involved in the Olympics not only did what was expected of us, we were also paid to do what we enjoy. It was the athletes who were exceptional.

‘Just because the Olympic Games were very much in the public eye, that seems no reason to single those involved out from the many more deserving cases that aren’t. Our reward is that the games worked, the legacy will be well-reasoned and we had a wonderful nine years thinking about it.’

Industrial designer Kenneth Grange was knighted and fashion designer Stella McCartney bagged an OBE.

Buro Happold chief executive Paul Westbury won a CBE and RICS chair David Bucknall received an OBE. Berkeley Group chair Tony Pidgley also won a CBE for services to housing.

Sue Riddlestone, co-founder of developer BioRegional, landed an OBE for services to sustainable business and to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Building scientist William Bordass was given an OBE for services to the architectural and engineering professions and to sustainable development. Coin Street Community Builders director Iain Tuckett also picked up an MBE for services to architecture and regeneration.

Awards were given to 1,068 people with 47 per cent going to women and 5 per cent to ethnic minorities.  

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