2012 work continues for designers

As plans for the physical legacy of the London 2012 Olympics go in front of the public, organisers are also promising a cultural legacy from the games, and say opportunities for designers will continue.

Last week London Mayor Boris Johnson, Communities Secretary Hazel Blears and Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell unveiled plans for the legacy of the Olympic Park after 2012.

The proposals for the site, in Stratford in east London, drawn up by architects Allies and Morrison, EDAW and KCAP, feature 10 000 new homes, five new schools and a new arts academy. They are going out for public consultation over the next five weeks.

Venues already under construction, such as the Olympic stadium, designed by HOK and Peter Cook, and the aquatics centre, designed by Zaha Hadid, will be maintained as sporting arenas.

Legacy has been a key part of the design briefs in the Olympic Park. Jason Bruges, who won the commission to create bridges and underpasses in the park along with Allies and Morrison and artist Martin Richman, talks of having to ‘design backwards’.

And a spokeswoman for the Olympic Delivery Authority says there will be further opportunities for designers to work on Olympic and legacy designs, with the ODA set to put out a tender for a design framework dealing with the Olympic Park. She says that while the scope for this tender is being decided, it will provide design opportunities across the park, but will not deal with Olympic venues.

Another design services framework is currently out to tender, dealing specifically with the design and construction of the remaining sports venues.

Meanwhile, alongside the physical construction of the Olympic Park, the Cultural Olympiad, a four-year programme which launched last September, is continuing, with promises of more work for designers and a cultural legacy to stand alongside the physical legacy.

The four-year programme, intended as a nationwide showcase of British arts and culture, is being run by the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games.

Bill Morris, director of culture, ceremonies and sport at Locog, pinpoints two upcoming areas of opportunity for designers. The first will be the completion of the report by Keith Khan, head of culture for London 2012, which will look at prospects for collaboration in the creative industries.

The second is the formal launch of the Discovering Places programme, scheduled for later this year, which is being run with Heritage Link, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, Natural England and Leeds Metropolitan University, and aims to promote ‘hidden places and spaces and over-looked sporting traditions’.

Morris says both these initiatives, as well as other projects in the Cultural Olympiad, will provide marketing and communications opportunities for designers, adding that design will help deliver 2012’s cultural legacy.

He says, ‘The legacy of the Cultural Olympiad will cover four areas. The first is that we want to get people engaged in cultural activities, or do them better. The second is economic – we want to promote new business and improve business skills.

‘The third is community cohesion – we want a similar effect to that felt in Liverpool following last year’s Capital of Culture celebrations. And the fourth is image legacy – we want the Olympics to change the way the country is viewed.’

Upcoming opportunities for designers:
• The Olympic Delivery Authority will put out a tender for an Olympic Park design framework ‘in the next couple of months’. This will deal with design elements in the Olympic Park, excluding venues

• A tender was put out last month to create a design framework for venue design

• The Cultural Olympiad will continue to throw up marketing and communications opportunities for designers between now and 2012. All these will go through the procurement process

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