Mayor announces major new plans for East London

21 July 2014

• International design team sought to design 'Olympicopolis' - a world-class new cultural and educational quarter at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park 

• Victoria and Albert Museum, University College London and Sadler’s Wells will be part of the project 

• Stratford to be 're-zoned' to bring its three stations into transport zones 2/3 


The Mayor Boris Johnson today announced new measures to accelerate the economic, social and cultural potential of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford and East London.


As the second anniversary of London’s Games approaches, plans for a world class education and cultural quarter on the Park are to be brought to life through an international design competition to find a team to design ‘Olympicopolis’.


This new quarter on Stratford waterfront at the gateway to the site will bring together outstanding organisations to showcase exceptional art, dance, history, craft, science, technology and cutting edge design. Internationally renowned institutions,


The Victoria and Albert Museum and Sadler's Wells are planning to occupy the new development with University College London planning a move to a neighbouring site south of Anish Kapoor's Orbit sculpture.


The Mayor is looking to find an exceptional team of architects, master planners, place makers, engineers and landscape designers to help create this ambitious project.


Paul Finch, Programme Director of World Architecture Festival and former chair of both the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment and the Design Council, will be the competition jury chairman along with a team of experts.


The Mayor’s vision for ‘Olympicopolis’ takes its inspiration from the achievements of Prince Albert, who used the proceeds of the 1851 Great Exhibition to create ‘Albertopolis’ – the 86 acre site around Exhibition Road in South Kensington that is today considered one of the world’s pre-eminent scientific, educational, artistic and cultural hubs.


Alongside the competition, the Mayor has also announced that to maximise the unique potential of the Olympicopolis initiative and wider strategic plans for regeneration and growth at Stratford, he has asked Transport for London to 're-zone' the three Stratford stations (Stratford, Stratford International and Stratford High Street) from zone 3 to zone 2/3 effective from January 2016, at a net cost to TfL of about £7m annually.


The move will benefit commuters and visitors travelling to the stations at a lower cost, boosting the commercial attractiveness of the area for which the Mayor is responsible through the London Legacy Development Corporation, for workers, businesses and residents. 


The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: 'As the world's eyes turn once again to the UK ahead of a major sporting spectacular, London's Olympic and Paralympic legacy is helping to transform Stratford into a vibrant new metropolitan centre. Our goal is to create thousands of new jobs whilst driving up the life chances and opportunities of local people to match those enjoyed across the capital. Huge progress is being made with Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park now re-opened and the planned move of the Financial Conduct Authority and Transport for London bringing 5,500 jobs to new offices into area. The launch today of a global hunt for top design talent to create a world class cultural and higher educational quarter on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will stimulate even further growth. ‘I am determined to use all the levers at my disposal to exploit the unique and exceptional opportunities at this site and to recognise the shifting economic map of London, we will be moving Stratford's stations – and one of the largest and most connected transport hubs in the country - into a new zone. This is an additional measure to support the ambitious regeneration plans we have in place.' 


The Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, said: ‘I welcome the announcement today to rezone 2/3 stations in Stratford. This provides long overdue recognition that London is moving East and there is much more to do. Rezoning East London will accelerate growth, bring additional investment and visitors and create much needed jobs and homes.’ 


Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, Dennis Hone, said: ‘Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is already home to award winning architecture and some of the best design in the world. Our new cultural and educational quarter will be no exception. This is a unique opportunity for the world’s best architects and designers to be part of and create one of the most exciting projects in the next few years.’ 

Notes to editors


1. In December last year the Mayor unveiled his vision for ‘Olympicopolis’ which takes its inspiration from the achievements of Prince Albert, who used the proceeds of the 1851 Great Exhibition to create ‘Albertopolis’ – the 86 acre site around Exhibition Road in South Kensington that is today considered one of the world’s pre-eminent scientific, educational, artistic and cultural hubs. The Mayor’s aim is that this will be a dynamic new hub for 21st century London, attracting prestigious institutions and businesses to the site to foster collaboration and innovation. As well as creating new visitor attractions, it will seek to attract knowledge based industries to the Stratford site, linking to Tech City, Here East and beyond. It’s projected that the cumulative effect of these plans will generate an extra 10,000 jobs in the Park and an extra £5.2 billion of economic value from the area, contributing an additional £99m in tax revenue per year.

2. The re-zoning proposal is subject to Department for Transport approval.

3. More on the Olympicopolis international competition:

• The open, two-stage design competition will be managed by independent competition specialist, Malcolm Reading Consultants. The London-based consultancy specialises in architectural competitions in the arts, museums, heritage and public sector and is currently running the Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition.

• The competition will feature an open first stage seeking Expressions of Interest from multi-disciplinary teams with relevant experience. It is anticipated that from these, five finalists will be selected. They will submit concept designs during the second stage with the winning team being announced in March 2015.

• Further details of the high-profile jury will be announced in September.

• Interested architects, masterplanners, placemakers, engineers and landscape designers are invited to visit to sign up. 


Additional quotes 

Alistair Spalding Chief Executive Sadler’s Wells, said: ‘The rezoning of Stratford Station to 2/3 is another very positive step on the way to the regeneration of this part of the city, and it will make it much more accessible for a wide cross section of London to live, work, play and enjoy the cultural opportunities that will be the future of Stratford. ‘I am delighted that the plans for the Cultural Quarter on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park are moving forward with the announcement of the design competition - this a great opportunity for dance and for this area of London. We are looking forward to working with the LLDC and the other project partner organisations to make this exciting prospect a reality.’ 

Martin Roth, Director of the V&A, said: 'The decision today underlines the support shown for the development of a cultural and educational quarter on the Stratford site, attracting millions of visitors each year.’ 

Moira Gemmill, Director of Design and FuturePlan at the V&A, said: ‘The V&A’s purpose is to make people think about design. It exists to encourage everyone to care about design and the impact it has on all our lives. This message begins with the building. Design is extremely powerful. It can change people’s perception of a place. It can bring great economic benefit. The ambition for the V&A in Stratford is to embody these principles in a great 21st century museum building.’ 

Professor Steve Caddick, Vice Provost-Enterprise, University College London, said: ‘The rezoning of Stratford station will contribute hugely to our vision of developing a new campus for UCL in the Olympic Park which will be open, connected, and accessible for every Londoner. This change will ensure that Stratford can provide all the attributes we need, as a world-leading university, to build a new campus fit for the 21st century – enabling us to ensure it will offer first-class facilities for people to do research, work together to grow a business and to learn, in a well-connected location.’


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