© Mike Odwyer
Photo © Mike Odwyer
Photo © Mike o

Athletes Village

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Year
2012
Cost
1M - 100M
Stories
Undisclosed

The Stratford City development was initially conceived in 2002 as a development and urban regeneration project on the former Stratford Rail Lands, which are north of Stratford town centre in East London. When London was awarded the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the East Village was assimilated into the Stratford City master plan. The requirement to host the 2012 Games meant that the development time frame, initially fifteen to twenty years, had to be accelerated to provide accommodation for the 17,000 competitors and team members. While there was considerable pressure to deliver the Village for 2012, the primary focus of the design team was the development of a Post-2012 Legacy Community that would contain residential, retail, office and educational facilities. The East Village lies between the river Lea to the west and the existing residential area of Leyton to the east. The natural characteristics and urban context of these locations have been used as landscape references to inform  the design of open spaces including the streetscape.

The surrounding topography, native planting and water courses inform the character of the public spaces, squares and streetscape environments creating a place of distinction. In addition to the strong connections to the surrounding context a central aspiration of the design was to develop a landscape that refers to the English tradition of landscape gardens as well as being an engineered landscape that manages the water sustainably. Close collaboration between the landscape architects, ecologists and engineers was required to develop a landscape that would not only create a sense of place but also minimize irrigation and hard surfacing, recycle run-off water, create topographical variation, possess a diversity of structures and habitats, and make extensive use of native and naturalized vegetation throughout the scheme and wetland environments. What started as a technical challenge for the team became a source of inspiration for the design of the public realm and informed a number of the design strategies used throughout the Village. The scheme aims to create a poetic infrastructural landscape.

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