Popularly known as the ‘Olympicopolis’ design competition – this international search for a design team marked the first step towards realising the Mayor of London’s vision of a new cultural destination within the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The initiative is key to one of the most ambitious urban renewal programmes in Europe.
The new Culture and Education quarter will create a unique arts-education-science-technology nexus in the capital. It aims to be a dynamic new hub for 21st century London which brings together outstanding organisations with exceptional strengths in art, dance, history, craft, science, technology and cutting edge design. Four world-class organisations – the V&A, Sadler’s Wells, University of the Arts, London and the Smithsonian Institution are supporting the project. This will be the first international outpost for the revered US museum.
The competition was keenly anticipated – nearly a thousand architects, masterplanners, placemakers, engineers and landscape designers responded to the pre-launch publicity campaign. MRC organised the two-stage selection process, devised the competition website, drafted the Expression of Interest document and 174-page Tender Brief, as well as liaising with the jury and advising the client.
Over 125 international architects combined to make 43 collaborative submissions and the shortlist of six multi-disciplinary teams was announced at the end of 2014.
The client’s objective was to encourage established companies to link up with emerging practices – in this way the project would benefit both from the skills of experienced, seasoned practitioners and fresh, new talent. The eleven-person jury met in March 2015, selecting the team led by Allies & Morrison as winners.