Olympic Park Walking Tour
We'll discuss the architecture of the Olympic legacy, and explore the many landmarks within the park
Join the Architecture Foundation for a walking tour exploring the Olympic Park. Explore the legacy of London’s £9.3 billion Olympic Games and the revolutionary new district which replaced one of the East End’s most implacable industrial wastelands.
Step from the bohemian warehouse conversions of Hackney Wick into the bold infrastructure of a future city – with its very own ‘E20’ postcode – where the mid-ground buildings in every view have yet to be constructed. Wander through the utopian parkland both empty and ready for future generations’ play, journey into the UK’s third largest shopping centre then descend into old Stratford and witness a community many warn is at risk of being divided.
Six years on from the London 2012 Olympic Games, Stratford remains one of the largest urban regeneration sites in the world. The event itself was a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity for the architects, planners and engineers mobilised to deliver its environment. Now the many temporary structures which caught the world’s imagination have been cleared away and the slow process of building 10,000 new homes on vacant plots surrounding the visionary Olympic Stadium, Aquatics Centre and Velodrome has begun.
Once again some of our era’s finest built environment professionals have been engaged to draw up Stratford’s future. But in the ten years since being awarded the games London’s housing crisis has intensified and a new debate over the sharing of regeneration’s benefits has emerged. Stratford and the council-owned Carpenters Estate – formerly threatened with demolition to make way a new University College London campus – has been a lightening rod for dissatisfaction.
The ‘Focus E15’ occupation of a condemned council flat by homeless mothers caught international attention and made famous the Labour mayor of Newham, Robin Wales’s remark: ‘If you can’t afford to live in Newham, you can’t afford to live in Newham.’ Meanwhile the Olympic park’s industrial fringe has witnessed an artistic renaissance with a raft of new venues opening in Hackney Wick and the group which set up Sugar House Studios – Assemble – winning last year’s Turner Prize.
It is for all these reasons a landscape where the complex consequences of London’s increasingly popular ‘Doughnut’ region are most apparent. The tour will last for two hours, beginning at Hackney Wick Station, and ending at Stratford Regional Station.
Start: Hackney Wick Station
End: Stratford Regional Station
This tour is wheelchair and buggy accessible
There will be a comfort break halfway through the walking tour