Thursday, August 13, 2009

London 2012: designing for legacy

After all the articles and talk yesterday about what would be the legacy of Vancouver's Olympics, I was interested to come across this story about the London 2012 Olympics and its Olympic Park Legacy Company. It seems to me that they have a lot to do given there is just 3 years to go...I mean, is now really the time to be deciding whether it's a 80,000 or 25,000 seat stadium! (although to be fair, it is apparently one third built!) I couldn't help but smile when I read what is proposed for their Olympic Village (see below) From the UK Publication Architectural Journal. By comparison, I think VANOC has done a very good job of getting us ready for the Olympics...the one 'trouble project' the Olympic Village is not being developed by VANOC.

13 August, 2009 | By Andrea Klettner

AJ SPECIAL REPORT: How plans for the Olympic Park are shaping up under legacy chief Baroness Margaret Ford
When London won the 2012 Olympic Games in 2005, its success was based on the promise of a legacy – a new East London providing future-proof housing design, thousands of jobs, improved transport links and new communities.
As former London mayor Ken Livingstone puts it: ‘I only bid because of the regeneration potential, otherwise we could never have justified it. I would like to see allotments set among sports pitches and an area that allows people to walk from Enfield right down to the Thames.’

But with three years until the big event, questions remain about what exactly will happen to the Olympic Park once the Games are over. Just a few weeks into the job and newly appointed legacy chief Baroness Margaret Ford has already torn into the existing post-Games plans to scale down Populous’ 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium into a smaller, 25,000-capacity version. Ford would prefer to keep the arena at its full size, although it is doubtful she will be allowed to force this through without consensus from her board, due to be appointed in September.
While more certain plans exist for the other Olympic venues (see map), there are still large chunks of land in the park masterplan – some designated for temporary infrastructure and venues during the Games – that remain blank in legacy mode. According to one source close to the project, ‘there is a map doing the rounds with big white areas on it that no one knows what to do with yet’.

Olympic Park legacy map
Ford, who heads up the Olympic Park Legacy Company, admits there is still a lot of work to be done on the park’s legacy masterplan, due to be submitted for planning in early 2010. ‘A lot of excellent work has been done in planning the legacy up to this point,’ says Ford. ‘But there should be a greater emphasis on celebrating the sporting legacy we will inherit from the 2012 Games.

‘Just as South Kensington is a destination for museums, the Olympic Park should be a visitor destination for a unique sporting experience – whether you play sport or not,’ adds Ford.

What has been decided is that the park will be divided into five main quarters, each with its own residential areas and community facilities including marinas, schools, nurseries and parklands. According to Markus Appenzeller, design co-ordinator for the Olympic Legacy Masterplan Framework and a director at KCAP Architects, ‘each housing area will have a certain focus, like the family-orientated area in the north’.

Ford places emphasis on the parkland aspect of the site: ‘The Olympic site will be defined in legacy by the use of its parkland. We will inherit one of Europe’s largest urban parks and I want it to be beloved by Londoners in the same way Central Park is in New York.’
Legacy plans for the permanent Olympic venues

Olympic Stadium
Architect Populous
Games mode Host venue with 80,000-seats for opening/closing ceremonies and track and field events
Legacy May become a smaller 25,000-seat venue, or remain at full size
Issues Baroness Ford has questioned the reasoning behind building a half-temporary stadium, especially since the UK is hosting the 2015 rugby World Cup and bidding for the 2018 football World Cup
Certainty of plans 20%

Olympic Village
Architects include Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, CF Møller, Denton Corker Marshall, dRMM, DSDHA, Glenn Howells Architects, Ian Simpson Architects, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, Make, Niall McLaughlin Architects, Panter Hudspith Architects, Patel Taylor and Piercy Conner
Games mode Home to 17,000 Olympic athletes in 11 residential blocks
Legacy Will be converted into 2,818 apartments, with 1,379 taken on by Triathlon Homes as affordable housing. The rest will be sold to developers for private resale
Issues The Olympic Village is currently owned by the taxpayer, so a value-for-money sale to future developers is essential. The conversion to apartments will take three years to complete
Certainty of plans 50%

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