MacEwen longlist: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park North Park Hub

Re-Purposing the London 2012 Olympics site to a natural woodland style playpark

Erect Architecture and LUC for London Legacy Development Corporation and BAM Nuttall

Location: Stratford, London

What was previously a sea of Tarmac during the London 2012 Olympic Games is now a new playpark and building with café, community spaces and park facilities. The facility is the focal point of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park North, designed as a destination in itself but also as local facility for large future com­munities at its fringe, such as Chobham Manor.

The site was a large concourse, located between the former Athlete’s Village and the Velodrome, and bordering the River Lea wetland basin. It required extensive transformation to become a space of high physical and environmen­tal quality. The design by Erect Architecture and LUC explores and celebrates the rich ecological heritage of the UK and in particular East London. The new play landscape contains a series of character areas, which tell plant life-cycle stories – from pioneer birch and hazel woodlands through to climax pine and oak forests. Interwoven with these is the play layer, which uses these stories to inspire bespoke play and poten­tial event opportunities within each space.

Fluid landforms and swathes of planting ensure the play landscape blends seamlessly with the wider parkland. Opportunities for play are discovered gradually as visitors explore the park. The building is designed as focal point and integral part of the landscape. The building comprises of a multi-purpose hall, cafe and kitchen and public park facilities. Modern methods of construc­tion like off-site manufacturing were used, but complement­ed with artistry and craftsmanship - creating opportunities for participation in the arts and skills development, as well as expanding experiences and understanding of what is local and particular. The community hub is operated by two charities, ensuring that profits are invested back into the local community.

 

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