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.
Approximate Map Location
LDA Design Consulting Limited
Olympic Delivery Authority
|Type of scheme|
Public planning and masterplanning
Urban/suburban green space
High Commended 2009 LI Awards Local Landscape Planning
At the heart of this project is the creation of a striking new park for East London taking forward the great British tradition of public park and garden design, providing an exemplar of contemporary ecological and horticultural excellence. Central to the parklands are the existing waterways that will continue to drive the character and identity of the site and provide a memorable setting for the Olympic Games. The wider public realm together with the parklands provides the context and setting for the venues themselves along with the infrastructure of roads, bridges and utilities both for the Olympic Games in 2012 and on through to the Transformation in 2014.
Landscape architecture: LDA Design, Hargreaves Associates, Buro Four, University of Sheffield, Sarah Price Landscapes, LDA Ecology, Centre for Accessible Environments, Fulcrum Consulting, Sutton Vane Associates, Waterwise Solutions, The Klassnik Corporation.| Landscape engineers: Atkins, Arup | River engineer: Atkins |Planning: EDAW AECOM.
The design and access statement presents the aims and objectives of the public realm and masterplan and the contextual conditions on the site. This includes planning policies, good design practice and considerations of the social context, local economy and environment, open space, infrastructure and accessibility, waterways, flooding and powerlines.
Following on from this is the Olympic Park concept and then each of the objectives are addressed with design responses which take into account this concept. These are then developed further to identify four key character areas which respond to the context and aims in a variety of ways.