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Unseen Olympicopolis: AJ reveals all shortlisted designs


The AJ has uncovered all the previously unpublished shortlisted design proposals, including concepts by David Chipperfield, for the Olympicopolis cultural and education quarter in the Olympic Park

The competition for east London landmark was won in 2014 by a design drawn up by a team led by Allies and Morrison with O’Donnell + Tuomey. The victorious scheme has subsequently come in for criticism from a number of big hitters, such as Will Alsop who slammed the proposals as ‘dull as ditchwater’.  

The AJ has now found images on the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC)’s website of the alternative design proposals for the cultural and education district by the five other shortlisted teams (see below).

The rival schemes were drawn up by David Chipperfield Architects, AECOM with Stanton Williams et al, Baumschlager, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS) and Rick Mather Architects with Ramboll.

Characterised by the ‘interplay between nature and industry’, Chipperfield’s plans included two bridges providing a ‘common ground’ and step-free access across the site.

The practice also said its proposal ‘encourages the institutions to harness the productive creativity of east London with spaces that foster experimentation and interaction’. Included within this, are a series of internal courtyards providing interconnected public spaces.

FCBS described its plans as ‘a landscape nestled between objects’, which it says is an inversion of the other buildings in the park. The practice also developed an ‘earthenware’ and ‘glassware’ theme for the external materials of the buildings, including two waterside pavilions.

Meanwhile, Ramboll with Rick Mather Architects said its designs developed a number of ‘integrated sensory responses’, which engaged with the individualities of each institution.

Last month in the Guardian, Rowan Moore added to the criticisms of Allies and Morrison’s designs for the Olympicopolis, describing them as lined up like ‘conscript soldiers at their first parade’.

Moore also praised another set of rival plans by Ole Scheeren – proposing that the buildings should overlap and intersect – which he said ‘could and should have been the basis for what is now being designed’.

The shortlisted designs 

AECOM with Stanton Williams, Alison Brooks Architects, AKT II, Asif Khan, Carmody Groarke, Charcoalblue, Haworth Tompkins and Vogt Landscape Architects

Plaza view

Plaza view

Source: London Legacy Development Corporation

Ramboll UK with Rick Mather, RCR, Jun’ya Ishigami, So-il, Max Fordham, Eckersley O’Callaghan, Steer Davies Gleave, Gardiner and Theobald, Savills, Britain Thinks, Eley Kishimoto, Ab Rogers, Charcoalblue, Speirs + Major and Gross.max

View from the orbit looking across the waterfront

View from the orbit looking across the waterfront (Ramboll UK with Rick Mather)

Source: London Legacy Development Corporation

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios with Atelier Ten, Grant Associates, Expedition, Charcoalblue, Gardiner & Theobald, 5th Studio, Coffey Architects, David Kohn, DRDH Architects, Hoidn Wang Partner and Thomas Matthews

Fcbstudios annotated site plan

Site view (FCB Studios)

Source: FCB Studios

Waterfront view 1

Waterfront view (Baumschlager Eberle)

Source: London Legacy Development Corporation

David Chipperfield Architects with Arup, Robbrecht en Daem, Harry Gugger Studio, Vogt Landscape Architects, Publica Associates, Alinea consulting

Model view from the south west

Model view from the south west (David Chipperfield Architects)

Source: London Legacy Development Corporation

Model view from the south west (David Chipperfield Architects)

The winning team

Allies and Morrison with Buro Happold, O’Donnell and Tuomey, Gardiner and Theobald, Gustafson Porter and Josep Camps/Olga Felip Arquitecturia

Fm aerial hr textured context 160715 (1)

Stratford Waterfront (Allies and Morrison)

Source: Forbes Massie


Whose design for Olympicopolis do you like best?

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Readers' comments (2)

  • My vote would be none of the above but Ole Schereen's proposal


    This design is rather captivating and dynamic which would add an iconic building to the Olympic Park

    The shortlisted designs, depsite the architects reputations for well designed schemes seems to be restrained or restricted by the brief there is very little in terms of adventurous approaches.

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  • The problem with all this criticism is that Will Alsop's designs are interesting only if you happen to be a 6-year old child, or if you're a diehard fan of Lady Gaga.

    Of the critics, the only one with the chops to speak is Ian Ritchie. He has made a career of designing actual innovative and interesting buildings, not just paper architecture and oversized children's toys.

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