LDA Design was appointed in 2008 to lead the development of the masterplanning and detailed design of the parkland and public realm for the London 2012 Olympic Games – to create a world class landscape.
Forming the centrepiece of the Games, the 102 hectares Olympic Park creates a dramatic setting for the Olympic venues and is a memorable place that is currently enriching all visitors’ experience.
The hour-glass shape of the Olympic Park naturally divides the park into a ‘wilder’ green northern half, The North Park and a more urban South Park. The previously canalised River Lea has been transformed into a three dimensional mosaic of new habitats – wetland, swales, wet woodland, dry woodland and meadow – that together form an absorbent flood-control measure. Specific habitats and wildlife installations have been integrated into the design to support key species identified in the Olympic Park Biodiversity Action Plan, such as Kingfisher, Sandmartin and European eel.
In Legacy, it will become a sustainable, permanent landscape within an adaptable development framework.
The London 2012 Olympic Park demonstrates a clear, focused master plan and development strategy which has resulted in a beautiful, distinctive park.
The project successfully demonstrates how a bigger vision for green infrastructure in a world city like London can be the principal driver for regeneration, creation of value and meeting low carbon targets. It demonstrates the central role that landscape architects, as master planners and designers, can play in leading the process. It helps to make the London 2012 the most sustainable games to date.
A significant part of East London has been rapidly and fundamentally transformed into a vibrant, sustainable park. It is a catalyst for wider regeneration and an exemplar for future restoration projects.
Post Games the Park will be expanded, during a period of transformation from Games to longterm Legacy to deliver the varying objectives of a new public park. Londoners and visitors will enjoy a contemporary and sustainable park for the 21st century, when it re-opens in 2014 as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The project has received a great deal of media praise:
Evening Standard critic Kieran Long: “The real star of the Olympic site is the landscape design.” “It’s simply beautiful, with borders packed with mixed wildflowers, all blooming gaily thanks to the wet weather. Its hillocks and valleys, ordered by the waterways that run north–south through the park, make it a unique place, and give a flavour of what will be a wonderful public space after the Games.”
Environment Magazine: “An amazing job has been done in bringing state of the art sporting facilities to the East End of London. Some of the most contaminated sites in the country have been redeveloped into fantastic amenity and parkland in just seven years (under normal conditions this amount of development would have taken fifty years!).”
Oliver Wainwright, Building Design: “The Olympic Park is a Tour de Force of ecological landscaping.”
“Walking around the 250 hectares of gently undulating meadows and pristine tarmac plazas this week, it is hard to believe this is the same piece of land that used to be a wild world of abattoirs and breakers yards.”
“It would be nice to think that once the garish Olympic flotsam has been blown away and the park reopens eighteen months after the Games, we will be left with one of the most magnificent public spaces to be built in London”.