Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Olympic Legacy: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Sporting Venue. Leisure Park. Artworks. Bridges. Building Work.How the ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower came about in the Gents or was it really a Cloakroom?

The London Olympic Park in Stratford, East London, is closing this week to be transformed by the spring of 2014 into the newly named Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. New roads and bridges will be built to connect this formerly enclosed 560-acre site, surrounded by water on three sides, to the world at large. The park will of course be a superb venue for athletes and the public: the project will provide work for many people.    

History Tree

  • ·   The Olympic Stadium will be made smaller, and could host the 2015 Rugby World Cup,the IAAF 2017 World Athletics Championships, concerts and other cultural attractions. West Ham United and 3 others have made bids for it, but seem to be dragging their heels.
  •    The Copper Box (used during the Olympics for handball, fencing and modern pentathlon, and for goalball at the Paralympics) will be turned into a multi-purpose indoor sports centre for the community and international, cultural and business events.
  •    The Aquatics Centre for athletes and public will be used for national and international events. Triathlon athletes and British Swimming will train there. The cost to swim there will be no more than other swimming pools in the area.
  •    The park is keeping most of the Artworks from the Olympics including the ArcelorMittall Orbit observation tower and restaurant, the glass RUN sculpture, by Monica Bonvicini, the Steles crayons for moorings and buoys in the Waterworks River, the Winning Words poetry inscribed in various places and the Factology benches. More History trees will be planted.
  •      Exciting bridges from the Olympics will include Martin Richman’s One Whirl design made from recycled glass and the Fast, Faster, Fastest interactive bridge whereby visitors will be able to sprint across to emulate the speeds of Olympic sprinters in the 100 metre races.
  • ·     Building will start on 10,000 new homes, an Academy of Education, commercial, health, technology and conference centres, restaurants and bars. 
  •       The Athletes' village will be called East Village, and will provide 2828 new homes, 50% of which will be affordable housing.
  • ·   The Broadcast Centre be turned into offices and the Press Centre  with retailers on the ground floor.

An Olympic Tower was first mooted after London Mayor  Boris Johnson and Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell decided on "something extra" for the Olympic Park. Nothing had been decided when fate intervened – and the ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower was on its way. 

Wikipedia recounts: “Mittal's involvement came about after a chance meeting with Johnson in a cloakroom in Davos in January 2009, as they were on their way to separate dinner engagements. In a conversation that reportedly lasted 45 seconds Johnson pitched the idea to Mittal, who immediately agreed to supply the steel”.