Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park facts for kids

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Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
The park in April 2012
The park in April 2012
Map of the park
Map of the park
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Region Greater London
Districts Newham, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Hackney
City districts Stratford, Bow, Leyton, Homerton
Time zone UTC (UTC0)
 • Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1)
Postcode E20
Website queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, in London, United Kingdom, is a sporting complex built for the 2012 Summer Olympics and the 2012 Summer Paralympics, situated to the east of the city adjacent to the Stratford City development. It contains the athletes' Olympic Village and several of the sporting venues including the London Stadium and London Aquatics Centre, besides the London Olympics Media Centre.

The park is overlooked by the ArcelorMittal Orbit, an observation tower and Britain's largest piece of public art. It was simply called Olympic Park during the Games but was later renamed to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II (though it is not an official Royal Park of London). The park occupies an area straddling four east London boroughs; Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Waltham Forest. Part of the park reopened in July 2013, with a large majority of the rest (including the Aquatics Centre, Velopark and Orbit observation tower) reopening in April 2014.

Location

The site covers parts of Stratford, Bow, Leyton, and Hackney Wick in east London, overlooking the A12 road. The site was previously a mixture of greenfield and brownfield land, including parts of Hackney Marshes.

The Royal Mail gave the park and Stratford City the postcode E20, which had previously only appeared in the television soap opera EastEnders for the fictional suburb of Walford.

History

Design

The park was designed by the EDAW Consortium (including EDAW, Allies and Morrison and Buro Happold), working with Arup and WS Atkins. Detailed landscape architecture was by LDA Design in conjunction with Hargreaves Associates. LDA design contracted Wallace Whittle to carry out various aspects of the M+E Building services design. The NHBC carried out the Sustainability assessments. The park was illuminated with a lighting scheme designed by Sutton Vane Associates.

London's Olympic and Paralympic bid proposed that there would be four indoor arenas in the park in addition to the main venues, but the revised master plan published in 2006 reduced this to three, with the volleyball events moved to the Earls Court Exhibition Centre. The fencing arena was also cancelled, with the fencing events taking place at ExCeL London. The remaining indoor arenas are the Basketball Arena and the Copper Box, in addition to the Water Polo Arena, the Aquatics Centre, and the Velopark. The final design of the park was approved by the Olympic Delivery Authority and its planning-decisions committee.

Legacy List Charity

The Legacy List is the independent charity for Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, set up in 2011 to support the legacy of the Games. Their mission is to make creative connections between people and the Park by developing, commissioning and supporting high quality art, education and skill building initiatives, to engage, educate and inspire current and future generations. Sarah Weir, who is an Executive Director of the Almeida Theatre and was running Arts Council England, found The Legacy List, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park charity. In autumn 2013 Sarah moved on to take up the role of Chief Executive at Waddesdon Manor, and in autumn 2013 Sarah moved on to take up the role of Chief Executive at Waddesdon Manor.

Construction

During its construction over 80,000 workers were engaged on the project. The construction of the Olympic Park was managed by CLM Delivery Partner, comprising CH2M Hill, Laing O'Rourke and Mace. CLM specifically managed the "white" space between the venue construction zones, including managing the internal road network. To enable the major phase of construction to begin, the 52 electricity pylons, up to 65 metres (213 feet) high, that dominated the landscape in and around the park were removed and the power transferred through new underground tunnels constructed by Murphy, known as the PLUG project – Powerlines Undergrounding. Following site clearance, the soil across the Park site was cleaned down to a human health layer, by soil washing.

Constituent sections of the park

  • London Aquatics Centre
  • Copper Box
  • Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre
  • Lee Valley VeloPark
  • Olympic Stadium
  • Eton Manor
  • ArcelorMittal Orbit
  • East Village, London
  • London Olympics Media Centre
  • The International Quarter
  • Northern Parklands

In addition, at the time of the Olympic and Paralympic games:

  • Riverbank Arena
  • Water Polo Arena
  • Basketball Arena
  • Park Live

Criticism

Rowan Moore, writing in The Guardian when the QE Park opened, commented that: "There is a frenzy of wacky light fittings, of playground installations, of seats, tree species, sculptural lumps of granite, kiosks, railings and coloured surfaces...It suffers from an Olympic syndrome, where everyone wants to be a Mo or a Jessica and make their mark. No one, except perhaps the admirable Oudolf, wants to do the quiet stuff. Certainly not the student housing developers Unite, who have built an astoundingly ugly block of 1,001 units between the Athletes' Village and Westfield shopping centre that looms aggressively in almost every vista. Great care was taken to make the Athletes' Village aesthetically orderly, to the point where it began to resemble Ceausescu's Bucharest: this eruption makes such efforts futile."

Robert Holden and Tom Turner, in a review of the Olympic Park's landscape architecture state that 'Our fundamental point is that "the landscape planning is much better than the landscape design". The landscape planning includes the opening up of the River Lea in the northern section of the park, the habitat-creation strategy and the park's excellent links with its hinterland. The landscape design is dominated by vast pedestrian concourses which will be busy during events but will resemble unused airport runways on every other occasion. There is some good garden-type planting but it has not been used to make "gardens": it is used more like strips of planting beside highways'.

Post-olympics

Further information: London 2012 Olympic Legacy
ArcelorMittal Orbit at night
The ArcelorMittal Orbit at night

The park has a number of uses after the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London finished, such as:

  • A part of the East London Tech City technology hub.
  • One of the largest urban parks created in Western Europe for more than 150 years, designed to enrich and preserve the local environment, by restoring wetland habitats and planting native species of plants.
  • A university exploiting the sporting facilities and high-tech communications infrastructure remaining specialising in sport science, digital media and green technology.
  • 3,600 apartments, the East Village, next to the Stratford City neighbourhood of Stratford, London.
  • The Manor Garden Allotments (reinstated after alternative use).
  • The (ArcelorMittal) Orbit, a steel tower which is the largest public work of art in the UK and a major tourist attraction.
  • On 27 February 2012, it was announced that the UK's main Olympic Museum will be opened at the park in 2014 next to the (ArcelorMittal) Orbit. The plans were shelved on 24 July 2013.
  • Several institutions are planning outposts at the park, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, University of the Arts London, and the Sadler's Wells Ballet Company.
  • A new Head Office for Transport for London, after the closure of 55 Broadway.
  • University College London intends to build a new campus within the park.

On 2 August 2011, it was announced the five neighbourhoods of housing and amenities (anti-clockwise from north-east) are:

These names have relevant history in the area. All four of the East London boroughs covering the park as such have a neighbourhood except for Waltham Forest.

The International Quarter

The International Quarter is a new commercial district in Stratford, East London, which hosted the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It will be a mixed-use development, with a total investment of in excess of £1.3 billion, and will be delivered by Lend Lease and London and Continental Railways in a 50/50 joint venture.

The International Quarter will include 4 million sq ft of commercial office space, 330 homes known as Glasshouse Gardens and a new hotel. The area is accessible via Stratford station.

Subsequent international sporting events

Although the sporting venues in the park were reduced in scale after the conclusion of London 2012, part of the legacy is to ensure the continued use of those facilities that are permanent, as local and community resources and for major international sporting events that make use of the world class facilities constructed for the Olympics and Paralympics:

  • The Stadium hosted the London Grand Prix athletics event starting in 2013.
  • The third stage of the 2014 Tour de France between Cambridge and The Mall in London passed through the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
  • In September 2014 the first Invictus Games was held in the park.
  • In 2010, a bid was submitted to use the Stadium as the venue for the 2015 World Athletics Championships. Due to the then uncertainty over the future use of the stadium, this bid was withdrawn, with instead a subsequent bid for the 2017 World Championships submitted instead. The success of this bid was announced on 13 November 2011.
  • The men's and women's 2015 European hockey championships took place at the revamped Lee Valley Hockey Centre.
  • London was announced as the only formal bidder for the 2017 IPC World Athletic Championships in October 2012.
  • In December 2012 the International Tennis Federation announced that the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre would host the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters between 2014 and 2016.

London has also bid for the right to hold both the UCI Track Cycling World Championships and the LEN European Aquatics Championships in 2016, which would be held at the Velodrome and Aquatics Centre respectively.

Resident sports clubs

In addition to the use of the venues for international events, some of them are intended for use on a regular basis by amateur and professional sports teams in various sports.

On 11 February 2011, West Ham United were selected as preferred bidders, ahead of Tottenham Hotspur, to take over the Olympic Stadium as a football venue after the end of the games. However, five days later Leyton Orient chairman Barry Hearn announced that he would be challenging the decision to allow West Ham to relocate to the stadium, as he believed that having West Ham playing within one mile (1.6 kilometres) of their Brisbane Road stadium could cost Orient support and even their existence. Incidentally, Hearn had expressed interest some years earlier in moving Orient to Olympic Park and reducing its capacity to 25,000 seats, while West Ham would cut the capacity to 60,000 if their relocation went ahead. Tottenham Hotspur also pursued legal action over the decision and eventually the deal with West Ham collapsed due to legal pressure on 11 October 2011. West Ham did go on to win the later tenancy bid and will use the stadium from the start of the 2016–17 football season as the main tenant.

The Copper Box will be the only permanent indoor arena remaining after the end of London 2012. Built primarily for use in the handball and goalball competitions, it will be converted to a multi-use venue that will include use for basketball. As a result of the owners of the Prestige Homes Arena in Milton Keynes terminating their lease, the London Lions basketball club, after a season at the National Sports Centre, Selhurst, will relocate to the Copper Box (upon conversion).

The Lee Valley Hockey Centre was borne from a revamp of the Olympic Legacy Hockey Facility. The facility is the current ground of Wapping Hockey Club. The centre includes 2 state-of-the-art hockey pitches and is operated by the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority.

Following the demolition of the original warm-up track after the end of the Olympics, a new six-lane facility was constructed on the south side of the Olympic Stadium, for use both as a community venue and as a new home for Newham and Essex Beagles Athletic Club following the 2017 World Championships.

Concerts

In January 2013, music concert promoter Live Nation won the right to stage shows at the stadium and in the surrounding park. The park hosted the music events in July 2013, but the stadium was not used. The former site of the Riverbank Arena is set to be used to stage the Hard Rock Calling, Wireless and Electric Daisy Carnival festivals .

Transport

Railway stations

Stratford station (7028902411)
South entrance to Stratford station

London Buses

Bus stations

Au Morandarte Flickr DSC00091 (11381057946)
Stratford City bus station

Bus links

  • Bow Church has service serving Central (8, 25, 205, N8, N205), North (276, 488), North East (425, 488) and South East (108) London.
  • Hackney Wick has services to
    • Central London:
    • and services to North London
    • and services to East London
      • 276 to Newham General Hospital
      • 488 to Bromley by Bow Tesco

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.