While the showcase venues have attracted most attention, it is the landscaping and spaces between that are the real triumph at the Olympic Park. By focussing the masterplan on a central ‘street’, broad enough to accommodate the ebb and flow of large crowds, with softer landscaped areas near the ‘river’, people are made the priority. The overall degree of care that has gone into making sure spaces work well, whether for eating, sitting, walking or watching, surpasses all recent Olympics, and this contributes enormously to visitors’ experience. Temporary outdoor ‘food courts’ are planned as urban piazzas, each with a different character, while the central green ‘lung’ with its meandering pathways cleverly sets an informal, arcadian character that belies its relatively small area.
Olympic Park credits: The Olympic Development Authority has been responsible for the Olympic Park infrastructure, delivery of the permanent competition venues, building the Olympic Village, International Broadcast Centre and Main Press Centre, the ‘overlay’ (relocatable and temporary arenas, works to existing venues and infrastructure), and the Olympic Park venue legacy conversion. ODA architecture team: Kay Hughes, Jerome Frost, Selina Mason; ODA landscape: John Hopkins, Phil Askew.
Sitewide Masterplanners: AECOM, Allies & Morrison; engineering contracts lead designers: Atkins (North Park), Arup (South Park); client design advisors: Allies and Morrison (handrailing and lighting supply items), Speirs & Major Associates (lighting), City ID (signage and wayfinding), Buro Happold (inclusive design and accessibility).
Park and public realm Landscape architects: LDA Design, Hargreaves Associates; garden design: Sarah Price; lighting strategy: Sutton-Vane Associates; ecologist: LDA Ecology; soil scientist: Fulcrum; sustainability: CAE; accessibility: Atkins.
Overlay Design services provider: Team Populous (Populous, Allies & Morrison, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands); engineering design service provider: Atkins; construction programme management provider: Drivers Jonas Deloitte. The Olympic overlay projects include 250,000 temporary seats, 165,000 square metres of tents, 2,500 cabins, 140km of fencing, and 250km of crowd barriers.