New visuals have emerged of Heatherwick Studio and SPPARC’s plans for a £700 million overhaul of the Olympia exhibition centre in west London
Submitted for planning last month, the 186,000m² project is backed by Yoo Capital, which jointly owns the 130-year-old building with Deutsch Finance.
The practices will completely revamp the existing exhibition halls, as well as adding 51,000m² of offices, studios and co-working space for ’the creative industries in art, music and entertainment’.
The plans include a four-screen arthouse cinema, a 1,000-seat performing arts space, a 1,500-seat theatre, 900m² of performance and rehearsal space, a new jazz club-style restaurant and venue, shops, cafés, hotels and new public space including pedestrianised squares and a sky garden.
The historic façades on Olympia Way will be fully restored and spaces, such as the historic Pillar Hall, will be opened to the public.
The exhibition centre was built in 1886 as the National Agricultural Hall to designs by architect Henry Edward Coe. Today it is the venue for more than 220 exhibitions and events each year, including the Olympia Horse Show and Stylist Live. Buildings on the site were listed in 2003.
In 2010, ColladoCollins Architects landed planning permission for a project to upgrade the exhibition centre with the addition of a restaurant, offices, conference facilities and, potentially, a 500-bedroom hotel.
However, in 2017, the building’s previous owner, Capital & Counties Properties, sold the building and related property assets in a £296 million deal.
The latest plans were lodged with the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham after 14 months of consultation. The team has submitted three applications: the main masterplan; an outline application for the pedestrianisation and development along Olympia Way, and a listed building consent.
Yoo Capital chairman John Hitchcox said: ‘The masterplan represents a phenomenal opportunity to invest in the existing exhibition business, while opening Olympia London up to the whole community by providing new cultural facilities in the arts, music and entertainment.
‘We are particularly delighted to be able to offer a new world-class theatre as part of the masterplan. If approved, it would be the first theatre of its kind built in London in generations, and would represent a significant investment in the arts.’
Heatherwick Studio group leader Eliot Postma said: ‘Olympia London as a venue has always been generous given the impressive size of the original halls. Our work here has largely been about making the site generous from the outside too, opening up over 0.8ha of space and creating new permeability.’
A future timescale for the scheme is not yet known.
Design evolution: initial designs from July (left) submitted proposals from October (right)
Location Hammersmith and Fulham
Type of project Investment in existing exhibition space, with addition of cultural and commercial uses including: new public realm, a glass canopy, a theatre, a music venue, office space, two hotels, a cinema, a logistics centre and an energy centre.
Client: A joint venture of institutional investors led and advised by Deutsche Finance International (DFI) and Yoo Capital (YC)
Collaborating architects Heatherwick Studio and SPPARC
Planning consultant Gerald Eve
Structural engineer Pell Frischmann
M&E consultant Desco
Quantity surveyor Gardiner & Theobald
CDM adviser Gardiner & Theobald
Gross internal floor area 186,000m²
Heatherwick Studio and SPPARC Architects’ proposals to revamp London’s Olympia - masterplan of illustrative land use (November 2018)