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Revealed: £400 million paid to architects and engineers of London 2012 Olympics


Freedom of Information request reveals what the Olympic authorities wouldn’t tell: what architecture and engineering firms earned for building the greatest show on earth

Architects behind the London 2012 Olympics took home at least £400 million of public money for designing the games’ flagship venues, legacy and infrastructure.

Nineteen key architects, engineers and designers netted more than £374 million in direct payments from one source alone – the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) – between 2006 and 2013.

Alongside the ODA’s spending, the Greater London Authority paid more than £25 million to EDAW to masterplan the winning Olympic bid and the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) shelled out £13.3 million to firms designing its legacy.

The findings, which emerged following a Freedom of Information Act request, show that Zaha Hadid took home £9.2 million for masterminding the Aquatics Centre showstopper, which, at £269 million, cost more than three times its original estimate to build.

Hopkins, meanwhile, snaffled £8.5 million for the 2011 Stirling Prize-shortlisted Velodrome while Stanton Williams was given £6.5 million for its Eton Manor tennis and hockey complex.

olympic delivery authority direct payments to selected architects and engineers from 2006 to 2013
Atkins £134m
EDAW £59m 
LDA Design£10m
Zaha Hadid £9.2m
Hopkins £8.5m
Stanton Williams £6.5m
Sinclair Knight Merz £4.6m
AECOM £2.7m
David Morley Architects £1.7m
Buro Happold £1.5m
Heneghan Peng £1.2m
Ramboll Whitbybird £117k
Populous £89k
Jason Bruges £53k
Wilkinson Eyre £30k
FaulknerBrowns £17.6k
John McAslan + Partners £12.3k
Expedition Engineering £1.8k

The total bill could be even higher, but ODA figures revealed under the act exclude details for design and build subcontractors, including Olympic Stadium designer Populous and the Athletes’ Village’s 13 architects.

The now-defunct Olympics organiser LOCOG cannot be forced to reveal how much it paid to the selected architects because it is exempt from FOI requests.

But the figures do reveal that Olympic Park lead masterplanner EDAW and engineering firm AECOM – which merged with the US design outfit in 2005 – together bagged a £94 million haul made up of £61.7 million from the ODA, £7.7 million from the LLDC and £25 million from the Mayor of London.

Commenting on the figures, New London Architecture chair Peter Murray – who campaigned against marketing restrictions placed on architects during the games – said: ‘This is peanuts when you take into account the massive benefits design brought to the Olympics and to the national economy.’

The revelations come shortly after members of the House of Lords committee on Olympic and Paralympic Legacy visited the 102ha east London park in a bid to evaluate the Games’ effect on regeneration.

This week the same committee quizzed culture secretary Maria Miller and sports minister Hugh Robertson on whether the gargantuan project will deliver the ‘maximum possible degree of regeneration’ in East London.



The RIBA's banner protesting against marketing restrictions placed on architects and engineers during the games


The AJ asked ODA, LLDC, Transport for London and the Mayor of London (incorporating records of the the defunct London Development Agency) how much had been paid to 50 selected architects, designers and engineers between 2013 and 2000 or the date when each organisation was founded.

The list of 50 selected architects, designers and engineers was drawn from the RIBA’s protest banner which was unfurled during last summer’s games in defiance of marketing restrictions.

The information returned by ODA under the Freedom of Information Act did not include sums paid to architects who were subcontracted on design and build contracts such as the Populous’ Olympic Stadium and the Athletes’ Village. Furthermore, some firms were contracted to or provided comprehensive design services for projects including engineering and project management.

In statement, Zaha Hadid Architects said: ‘ZHA was contracted to provide all design services for the project. The fees are not only for architecture, but for all design consultancy which included engineering and other specialists.’

Stanton Williams said in a statement: ‘We would like to clarify that the payments received do not constitute architect’s fees only. Stanton Williams were appointed as a Tier 1 consultant on the Eton Manor project by the ODA, which means that all the design consultants on the project were paid through us.’



Readers' comments (2)

  • Ridiculous reporting - how is Zaha Hadid architects earning a 3.5% fee newsworthy - sensationalist rubbish - no wonder it's difficult to command decent fees when the industry magazine reports like this.

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  • Claire,
    I think the £9 mill fee was calculated on the original aquatics centre build which was estimated at circa £100- now a 9 - 10% fee is certainly newsworthy!

    Otherwise, I generally agree with you- this mostly seems like a reasonable fees for substantial architectural / consultancy services- the article should be more complimentary.

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