Before it was even completed, the legacy of the Populous-designed stadium for the London 2012 Olympics was a thorny issue. Originally designed to be largely dismantled after the games, a sudden interest in the future stadium from local football teams led to an about-face by the government, resulting in a renewed brief for a design that could be adapted to host football matches. What followed after the games was recently described by The Guardian's sports correspondent Owen Gibson as "a huge, expensive engineering puzzle" in which "to all intents and purposes, it has been completely rebuilt."
Anish Kapoor’s ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower in London will soon host the world's tallest and longest tunnel slide. The 114-meter-tall tower, already the UK's tallest sculpture, was originally built for the 2012 London Olympics. As the Metro reports, the semi-transparent stainless steel tube slide will start its descent 80-meters above ground within the structure's infamous lattice work, spiraling five times before embarking on a final 50-meter drop. Rides will last 37 seconds and cost just £5 a ride.
New London Architecture (NLA), an independent resource and forum for debate about the city's built environment, have unveiled a new, large-scale interactive model of the UK capital. Designed to provide a visual history of the city, NLA also intend for it to spark questions about its future. This model replaces an earlier one, which was revealed on the day that it was announced that London's bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games has been successful. Now, a decade later, the present projection of the city's built future has been mapped across the model, highlighting the locations of the 263 tall buildings planned or under construction. Visitors are also able to track the route and impact of new transport links, such as HS2 and Crossrail.
David Chipperfield, Stanton Williams and Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios are among six teams that have been chosen to move forward in the final round of the "Olympicopolis" design competition. The shortlisted competitors, which also includes Rick Mather, Allies and Morrison and Baumschlager Eberle, have been asked to develop proposals for a new culture and education quarter on the Stratford Waterfront at the gateway to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.
“What makes this shortlist so exciting is the diversity of design disciplines represented with established architects working in collaboration with new and emerging practitioners,” stated Martin Roth, director Victoria and Albert Museum. “We are confident that this shortlist of national and international designers and architects will ensure a wonderful new building for London.”
The complete shortlist, chosen from 43 submissions and 123 international architects, after the break.
The UK Government has announced £140 million in public funds will be granted to the planned "Olympicopolis" cultural quarter in East London, in the former 2012 Olympic Park. The museum and educational district is planned to feature a new outpost for the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum and Sadler’s Wells theatre, and a new campus for the University of the Arts London.
The site, which is just North of Zaha Hadid's Aquatics Centre, is the focus of an ongoing design competition which reportedly attracted almost 1,000 expressions of interest in the contest's pre-registration phase. The winner of the competition will be announced in March.
Hawkins\Brown has unveiled designs for Here East, the redevelopment of the former Press and Broadcast Centre at the London 2012 Olympics. The design for a "world class creative and digital cluster" will feature office and studio space for both established global companies alongside some of East London's many creative start-ups. Providing over a million square feet of flexible space, the design also includes shared work spaces and public areas, and a shared yard to host events, aiming to promote sharing of ideas and collaboration between the companies at various scales that will inhabit it.
The competition to design a cultural complex at London's new 'Olympicopolis' site formally opened today, seeking to attract "an exceptional team" of architects, masterplanners, engineers and landscape designers to transform the site next to London's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Organizers Malcolm Reading Associates say that the competition has already registered over 960 expressions of interest from firms worldwide before the details were even announced, thanks to their early announcement seeking interested parties in July.
Zaha Hadid will be awarded an honorary degree and fellowship from Goldsmiths College, at the University of London, during the college’s graduation ceremony in September. Hadid was chosen because of her “inventive approach, and eagerness to challenge conventions which have pushed the boundaries of architecture and urban design," Architects’ Journal (AJ) reported.
Following the recent announcement of Aedas' demerger into two separate companies - one retaining the Aedas name and the other now known as AHR - we spoke to Keith Griffiths, Chairman of Aedas' global board and a practicing architect for close to three decades. The company, which was recently ranked by the Architects' Journal as the 5th largest and most influential practice in the world, have now moved their head office to London's Chandos Place and are championing a new approach to urban regeneration in the UK's capital. Alongside discussing how an international practice of Aedas' scale successfully operates, Griffiths offered his insight into how the future looks for European cities based on a tried and tested Asian model of densification.
To find out how Aedas approach sustainability in flourishing Asian markets, as well as the significance of the 'urban hub' typology for London's metropolitan future, read the interview in full after the break.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced a new competition for the designs of a cultural quarter next to the 2012 Olympic park. The site has been dubbed 'Olympicopolis', and so far has expressions of interest from University College London, University of the Arts London, the V&A, Sadler's Wells Theatre and now possibly - according to the Guardian - Washington DC's Smithsonian.
As part of his strategy to solidify the "Olympic Legacy" of East London, Mayor Boris Johnson has recently been focusing on providing the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with a little more diversity in its buildings, placing an emphasis on bringing cultural institutions alongside the sports buildings. Now, alongside the V&A's plans for new galleries and University College London's proposed design school and cultural centre, The Art Newspaper reports that Johnson is out to grab a headline attraction: London's own Guggenheim.
Read on after the break for more
In this article for The Guardian, Oliver Wainwright reviews Chobham Academy, a new school built as part of East London's Olympic Legacy by architects AHMM. While he finds the school impressive and ambitious, Wainwright questions whether the campus, which acts as the 'fulcrum' between the poverty-stricken streets of Leyton and the high end flats of the former Athlete's Village, will be able to bring the two parts of this community together. You can read the full article here.
This four part series (originally published on Aggregate’s website) examines The Gherkin, the London office tower designed by Foster + Partners, showing how the urban icon engaged and leveraged perceptions of risk. In part one, author Jonathan Massey introduced the concept of "risk design” to describe how the Gherkin’s design managed the risks posed by climate change, terrorism, and globalization. In part two, below, Massey examines the Gherkin’s enclosure and ventilation systems in detail to explain how the building negotiated climate risk.
In a poster promoting London’s bid to host the Olympic Games, the Gherkin supported gymnast Ben Brown as he vaulted over the building’s conical peak. The image associated British athleticism and architecture as complementary manifestations of daring and skill, enlisting the Gherkin as evidence that London possessed the expertise and panache to handle the risk involved in hosting an Olympic Games.
But a poster created three years later offered a very different image. Created by activists from the Camp for Climate Action to publicize a mass protest at Heathrow Airport against the environmental degradation caused by air travel, this poster shows the Gherkin affording only precarious footing to a giant polar bear that swats at passing jets as its claws grasp at the slight relief offered by spiraling mullions and fins.
How does design change the nature and distribution of risk? In this, the first of four installments examining the Gherkin, the London office tower and urban icon designed by Foster + Partners, author Jonathan Massey introduces the concept of “risk design.” The series, originally published on Aggregate's website, explains how the Gherkin leveraged perceptions of risk to generate profits, promote economic growth, and raise the currency of design expertise.
Back the Bid. Leap for London. Make Britain Proud. Emblazoned across photomontages of oversized athletes jumping over, diving off, and shooting for architectural landmarks old and new, these slogans appeared in 2004 on posters encouraging Londoners to support the city’s bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games. Featured twice in the series of six posters—along with Buckingham Palace, Nelson’s Column, the Tower Bridge, the London Eye, and the Thames Barrier—was 30 St Mary Axe, the office tower known colloquially as the Gherkin for its resemblance to a pickle, or as the Swiss Re building, after the Zurich-based reinsurance company that commissioned the building and remains its major tenant.
Beyond 2012 is a new website launched by the British Design Council to tell the story of how the London 2012 Olympic Games were designed. The site explores how the best British designers were brought in to create the products, fashion, graphics, digital design, and of course the architecture that made the 2012 games a fantastic worldwide spectacle. See the full website here.
After a government report earlier this month found that the London Olympics had brought a £10-billion-boost to the UK's economy - effectively breaking even with the initial investment after just one year - the architectural community has begun to question whether the built legacy of the games will be worthwhile in the long run.
Guardian critic Olly Wainwright is scathing about the Olympic park, particularly the developments at the edge of the site: "At every junction of this roaring A-road sprouts a steroidal tower, each clad in ever more lurid colours, transforming the street into a gauntlet of competing ambitions. Looming over adjacent council estates, these brash totems are a monument to Olympian greed... Strip away all the festive colours, though, and you'll find that these are actually mean-minded silos of tightly packed one-bedroom flats, mostly sold overseas for buy-to-let."
Find out more about Wainwright's investigations, and other opinions of the Olympic legacy, after the break.
On July 9th, The Building Centre will debut "We Made 2012", an exhibition that looks back at the venues, landscape and legacy that made up the London 2012 Olympic Games and the individuals and organizations that made it possible. The exhibition celebrates the UK construction industry composed of architects, engineers, manufacturers, suppliers, and contractors. This exhibition was made possible partially because the on January 27, 2013 the British Olympic Association launched the ‘Suppliers Recognition Scheme' which allowed members of the construction industry to apply for a free license, which, once issued, allowed participants to talk freely about their contributions.
Although the 2012 London Olympics concluded last August, RIBA president Angela Brady and New London Architecture chairman Peter Murray continued to lead a fierce campaign against the strict International Olympic Committee (IOC) rules that forbid architectural practices who contributed to the design and construction of the venues from promoting their work. Months later, a compromise has finally been met and the architects will now allowed to discuss their contributions freely.
Brady said: “The majority of architects and designers we were standing up for in the campaign were young small businesses who just wanted to be able to promote their work. It’s great that they are now able to speak freely about their contribution.”