My experiences in culture and heritage led me to work for the Olympic Delivery Authority as one of four Principal Design Advisors, to create the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. I was there to ensure the strategic themes underpinning the Olympic Park master plan translated into workable design briefs and delivery plans. I commissioned designers, both established practices as well as emerging young talent.
One of the great challenges of creating a natural park on the site was pulling back the banks of the River Lea, so that visitors could sit on the river bank and enjoy the parkland and water. The river originally had a steep drop and industrial hard edge which made it inaccessible. Designers across the world were interested in this river edge treatment in an urban context.
The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is located in a place marked by historic industrial use. We tried to retain artefacts from the area's industrial history, like this metal footbridge. It was a challenge to balance retaining these objects with the perceptions of the local community. Many viewed these symbols of industry as reminders of the past and years of neglect.
Cover: Patrice Todisco
Above left: Art & Architecture Journal
Above right: Manu Mendoza