The Olympic Park

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is one of Europe’s most significant new parks, the product of a monumental civil engineering programme.

As lead consultants, LDA Design were tasked with the transformation of a post-industrial site in east London occupied by an infamous fridge mountain. Seven soil remediation hospitals had to be managed, 5,000 homes protected from flooding, myriad levels made from scratch and a major drainage and utilities strategy implemented.

With one key design decision, a neglected Cinderella of a river was made fit to go to the ball. The banks of the River Lea were pulled right back, to create wildlife habitats and accessible wetlands, swales and meadows.

The design team adopted a ‘build it once’ approach in planning for the post-Games mode, which will include a major cultural and education district. Already the 102 hectare Park is connecting neighbourhoods old and new via a blue-green network, and wildflowers continue to make it memorable.

It is interesting that as the engineers needed ever more precise answers, so it was the landscape architects who provided them. In many ways, the Park showed landscape architecture holding the ring. Because of this, it has generated a step change in understanding about the sheer power of landscape to synthesise at every scale.

 

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