High Line Landscape Architect Tapped to Build an Olympic Labyrinth for the London Games
The verdict is in: after launching a design competition in July for London’s forthcoming 50-acre Olympic Park, the Olympic Park Legacy Company has announced James Corner Field Operations and erect architecture as the winners.
James Corner, the New York-based landscape architect, put himself on the map after designing the celebrated and oft-copied High Line park. His other notable work is Freshkills Park, the former Staten Island landfill the borough will, with Corner’s help over the next 30 years, reclaim as a recreation area that will be twice the size of Central Park. He’s bringing his landscaping expertise to the Olympic Park’s south end between the Olympic Stadium, the Aquatics Centre, and the park’s centerpiece, the Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond-designed ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture, a mammoth work of red, twisting tubular steel. He’ll be planting a hedge labyrinth (exciting!), event lawn, and outdoor theater along a tree-lined promenade.
While the south end’s focus will be on commercial use — festivals, food stalls, and the like — the north end will be more wildlife oriented. erect architecture, a younger emerging London team, has been tapped for its track record of whimsical playspaces, primary schools, and youth centers to create a community hub in the park’s north end, complete with a nature-themed playground for climbing trees and building dens.
Construction off the banks of the River Lea also include the VeloPark, which comprises a one-mile road circuit for cyclists flanked by wetlands, as well as miles of mountain bike trails surrounding the Velodrome. The entire operations of the park are slated to be renamed the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2013 with the expectations that it will remain a major tourist attraction long after the Olympics are over.
To see renderings of the future Olympic Park, click the slideshow.