Rick Mather Architects are delighted to announce that our collaborative Olympicopolis competition scheme has won the peoples vote on the Architects Journal's recent public poll.
Our team were one of six leading design & architecture teams chosen to develop a competition design for a major new cultural and educational space at London's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The competition presented an extraordinarily absorbing design challenge for a high-profile global project, which RMA and the team embraced to produce a highly original and competitive scheme.
Eighteen months after the competition process completed, the AJ published all the shortlisted design proposals, and opened a public poll to ask "whose design for Olympicopolis do you like best?". RMA's scheme was awarded 58% of the vote, versus the winning scheme which received 27%.
Our team included:
Architects: Rick Mather Architects RCR ISHIGAMI SO-IL
Landscape: Gross Max
Structural Engineer: Ramboll, Eckersley O'Callaghan
M&E / Sustainability: Max Fordham
Transport Consultant: Steer Davis Gleave
Project Manager/Cost: Gardiner and Theobald
Access Consultant: People Friendly Designs
Theatre Design: Charcoal Blue
Sensory Input: Sissel Tolaas Daniel Pemberton Eley Kishimoto
Lighting: Spiers and Major Security Engineering: QCIC Group
Interactive / Interiors: Ab Rogers
Stakeholder Engagement: Britain Thinks
Our approach to the competition drew on an international collaboration that would challenge certain urban orthodoxies. We developed a huge range of sketches, models and ideas about the nature of the site. Trapped between two identities of landscape and city we grappled with the orthodoxy that the development could not simply be rolled out as a conventional urban grid, a pale imitation of nearby streets, irrespective of its prominent riverfront position, the context of Olympic pavilions and most significantly the heroic scale of accommodation and volume required from the brief.
The early drawings of Ishigami and RCR helped refine the idea of an ascending series of roofscapes, to create a single sweeping landscape that responded to the curve of the adjacent Aquatic centre roof. This allowed every institution to have a presence when approach from the main entrance bridge, and overcoming a key challenge of visually unfurling the collective institutions when arriving at the entrance.
We thoroughly enjoyed the design process and the creative energy and insight that our global collaboration brought to the project. Our proposals sought to reflect the dynamism, vision and diversity of the ideas presented in our design team workshops. From the competition process we have gained an appreciation for the varied techniques, approaches and strengths of these firms, and have since collaborated on other competitions and projects.