The Olympic Park is located in the Lower Lea Valley of east London, and will host facilities such as the Olympic Stadium, Aquatics Centre, and an outdoor sports complex. It is claimed to be the largest urban park to be created in Europe, in 150 years.
The design by LDA Design●Hargreaves Associates was inspired by the generous Victorian festival gardens, and also features screens for audiences to watch Olympics broadcasts in real time.
According to George Hargreaves, founder and design director of Hargreaves Associates, the northern side of the park will be “highly ecological with biodiversity and sustainability as major goals”. It will feature quieter public space, concentrating on habitats for wildlife. On the other hand, “in the South we have sought to create a park that is a contemporary cultural expression of the British love of plants from around the world”. This section will cater for more human activities with venues such as markets, cafes and bars.
After transformation, the current site of contaminated, industrial land will provide 100 hectares of parkland with artificial habitats for birds and bats, and habitats for other species like otter, grass snake, song thrush and grey heron. The London 2012 Gardens, which will sit between the Aquatics Centre and Olympic Stadium, will feature efforts of British plant collectors around the world through over 250 species of plants, trees, meadows and herbs.
Smart green techniques will be used to buffer the park and its surrounding areas from climate change and flooding. Rainwater captured through the paving will be filtered naturally through a system of ponds, reedbeds and wet woodlands, so that it will be cleansed before entering the river.
The ODA is working with the London Development Agency to ensure the park’s design will fit into the Legacy Masterplan Framework, which examines how the Olympic Park site will be developed after the 2012 Games.