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Olympicopolis: Stratford Waterfront


In Brief


Client:
London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC)

Location:
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Construction value: 
£297,000,000

Completion:
Competition entry

The Olympic Park Culture and Education Quarter is set to create an entirely new phase of life for the park, one which is founded upon collaboration, creativity, technology, production and consumption. FCBStudios formed and led a team of some of the UK’s best engineers, young architects and designers in a collaborative process to create a jointly designed masterplan for this competition.

The team led by FCBStudios included:
5th Studio, Coffey Architects, David Kohn Architects, DRDH Architects, and Grant Associates, working alongside Atelier Ten, Expedition, Useful Simple Projects, Gardiner & Theobald, Charcoalblue, Thomas Matthews,
All Clear Designs and Hoidn Wang Partner.


Our scheme


Our scheme proposed an ensemble of interdependent but separate spaces which could come together in the public realm but have their own “front door” and their own discrete identity. We firmly believed that for the ambitions of the LLDC to be realised, the scheme must create a convincing piece of city where the spaces in between the buildings are as important as the buildings themselves. This meant providing strong connectivity within the complex and among the institutions; creating productive, cultural and economic connections with adjacent neighbourhoods and the city as a whole.

Olympicopolis: Stratford Waterfront

Responding to the Site


Whilst other buildings in the Olympic Park are objects standing in landscape, our proposal was an inversion of this condition: a landscape nestled between objects. The element that unites all the institutions is also the space that is central to the site. The different levels surrounding the site are used to provide numerous public terraces that serve the cultural institutions and cafés, restaurants and shops. The three large cultural institutions form a foil against which four towers are set in a seemingly loose, but actually carefully calibrated way. What is achieved is unity through a balance of distinct building configurations, large and small.

Olympicopolis: Stratford Waterfront

V&A East


FCBStudios with David Kohn
The V&A East is a daring new model for a museum of the future to be enjoyed through a shared public experience. Located at the south eastern end of the site it would form the gateway to the complex with active frontages and entrances on three elevations, benefitting from different qualities of light. The galleries, linked by the ‘1000 years of creativity’ display space, would thread their way through the building vertically, joining together different aspects of the public realm through to the rooftop café and terrace. The galleries would be located in a single construction of staked ‘white cubes’.

Olympicopolis: Stratford Waterfront

4th Institution / Smithsonian


FCBStudios with Coffey Architects
The Smithsonian structure was divided into three buildings clustered around their own shared external terrace. Two are independent and part of the riverfront buildings and one continues the terrace along Carpenters Road, allowing café/roof terraces to be shared with V&A East. Gallery ante spaces with windows allow visitors to reflect on their journey through each building. Floor to floor heights of 6m or 8m allowing flexibility for performance, installations and gallery space. All have active ground floors linking with the public space.

Olympicopolis: Stratford Waterfront

London College of Fashion


FCBStudios with 5th Studio
UAL, with its near 14,000 population, would work like a small city, providing a stabilising effect on the surrounding area. Responding to the brief for an invigorating creative territory between the poles of industry and display, we established a set of spaces with strong character and a tripartite arrangement: a working street front along Carpenters Road, an open central ‘landscape’, and a garden frontage. The structure is conceived as a place of reception and hospitality, with a great public room for events with a top-lit galley space above, and a series of spaces for socialising and dining. 

Olympicopolis: Stratford Waterfront

Sadler’s Wells


FCBStudios with DRDH Architects and Charcoalblue
Sadler’s Wells sits at the centre of the proposed Culture and Education Complex, creating a fulcrum between the cultural institutions and the University, the city and the park. The theatre spaces step back from the river to address the upper terrace that runs through the project. The School fills the two storey volume between the top of the auditorium and the face of the fly tower, whilst the Hip Hop Academy establishes a final level above, utilising the roof of the fly tower as an outdoor performance and events space and opens onto a large outdoor graffiti terrace.

Olympicopolis: Stratford Waterfront

Residential


The two fifty to sixty storey residential towers are located on the northern boundary, creating the necessary exclamation mark for the overall development as well as deferring to the smaller towers at the front of the cultural institutions. The base of the small footprint ‘pencil’ towers are conjoined to form a street and waterfront plinth of local retail, services, community and residential foyers which serve the local neighbourhood. Creating a clearly defined residential mixed-use area at the northern prow of the site leaves the remainder of the site for the Education and Culture institutions to take their interrelated places.

Olympicopolis: Stratford Waterfront

Materials


We proposed a language of ‘earthenware’ and ‘glassware’ for external materials. The earthenware cladding of ceramic tiles varies in texture and reflectance to articulate the façades. The upper part would be fine, white, vertical ceramic flutes in order of tone. We proposed that on the east of the V&A, the ceramics become decorative and complemented by ‘glassware’ for the waterfront building, clad in white opalescent cast glass to give a luminescent accent to the landscape. A ‘viaduct’ structure would form the buildings base; a plinth of concrete columns, bronze fittings, and rough-grained wood.

Olympicopolis: Stratford Waterfront

Team


Landscape Architect:
Grant Associates 
Building Services Engineer:
Atelier Ten
Structural & Civil Engineer:
Expedition
Theatre Consultant:
Charcoalblue
Cost Consultant:
Gardiner & Theobald
Associate Architects:
5th Studio
Coffey Architects
David Kohn Architects  
DRDH Architects
Architectural Critic and Advisor:
Hoidn Wang Partner
Interior Design:
Thomas Matthews 
Sustainability Strategists:
Useful Simple Projects

Olympicopolis: Stratford Waterfront