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Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park tops London's Planning Awards

31 January 2013

  • Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park wins Mayor's award for planning excellence
  • Sir Terry Farrell honoured for contribution to London

For its dramatic transformation of east London and its spectacular showcasing of world-class planning, design and engineering skills, the Mayor's Award for Planning Excellence goes to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The joint entry was submitted by Olympic Delivery Authority and Planning Decisions Team with the AECOM led consortium, and the London Legacy Development Corporation with LDA Design with Hargreaves Associates, Arup and  Atkins.

The Park formed the centrepiece of the hugely successful London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The 102 hectare site is Europe's most significant landscape project for a generation and the largest new urban park in the capital. It is now being transformed to provide up to eight permanent venues for major concerts and sporting events as well as thousands of new homes in five new neighbourhoods complete with new schools and health facilities for the new communities. This will create 8,000 new jobs plus a 2,500-strong temporary construction workforce leaving an important legacy and acting as a major catalyst for regeneration in the east of London.

Due to the scale and complexity of the project many challenges had to be overcome before the masterplan for the Park could begin construction. The original brownfield site was one of the most contaminated in the capital containing a post-war munitions dump, battery and match making factories as well as 52 electricity pylons, neglected waterways and a "Fridge Mountain".

Key to the design is over 8.5 kilometres of improved and restored waterways which connect the two halves of the park. The River Lee has been transformed into a three dimensional mosaic of wetland, swales, wet woodland, dry woodland and meadow. Together they form a water sensitive design and an absorbent flood-control measure which also ensured that over 90 per cent of spoil was cleaned and reused on site and not removed to landfill.

Other winners of the night include Kings Cross station for best built project, the Aylesbury Estate Regeneration Phase 1 for best new place to live, Leyton Town Centre for best town centre project, The Roundhouse for best built project five years on, and Ladywell Fields in Lewisham for best new public space.

The annual London Planning Awards are jointly run by the Mayor and London First, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), and London Councils and were created in 2003 to recognise projects, schemes and planning professionals and organisations that have made a vital contribution to the capital in making it a better place to live, work, do business or visit.

This year the Mayor gave a special award to Sir Terry Farrell for his unique contribution to planning and development in the capital over the last 10 years. He has worked on masterplans for large parts of London including Earls Court, Holborn, Nine Elms, Vauxhall, Wood Wharf and Old Oak Common, as well as influencing thinking through voluntary initiatives and "visioning" for The Royal Parks, Buckingham Palace, Marylebone/Euston Road and the Thames Gateway. Qualified as both a town planner and an architect, he has designed buildings such as the new Home Office headquarters, Regents Place and the new Transport for London headquarters on the Greenwich Peninsula. Sir Terry is currently visiting professor at The Bartlett (UCL) and University of Westminster and lectures widely on the public realm and vital spaces in between buildings.

Boris Johnson - Mayor of London

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "This award is for every one of the thousands of people and organisations who have contributed to the overwhelming success of the Olympic Park design. They have delivered a brand new district for London which is admired the world over and laid the foundations for an amazing legacy for this great city.

"Yet again the standard of entries this year is excellent. From town centres to public buildings and new green spaces, the variety and quality of the submitted projects gives me great confidence and excitement about the fantastic transformations we are seeing in every corner of this great city.

"This year I am particularly delighted to be able to recognise the exceptional work of Sir Terry Farrell who has made an incredible contribution to London's public realm which is enjoyed by Londoners and visitors from around the world."

Dr Peter Geraghty - RTPI President

 Dr Peter Geraghty, President of the RTPI, said: "I am delighted that following the success of the Games, which celebrated sporting excellence, that the Olympic Park has won the Mayor's Award. The Park is an example of the excellence of British planning expertise and deserves this award, recognising the years of work that went into making the Olympics and Paralympics the sporting and cultural success it was. Billions of people across the world saw the best of British planning; we should be proud of the planning that went into it and proud of the planners who made a vision a reality, now and for future generations."

London First

Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive of London First, said: "The London Planning Awards celebrate the best of what can be achieved in the capital. They demonstrate what is possible when we work together to create great buildings, places and neighbourhoods. This year's winners and all nominees are outstanding and their projects will help strengthen London's position as the best city in the world. The planning and development of Olympic Park is an outstanding symbol of London's ability to host major events and the major regeneration of East London."

London Councils

Mayor Jules Pipe, Chair of London Councils, said: "The exceptionally high quality across the range of categories this year shows that London's planning system is producing world quality architecture. London's boroughs play a key role in planning and ensuring such developments add social, economic and environmental value to local communities. Congratulations to all the winners."

The awards were presented at a ceremony at City Hall on Thursday 31st January. The judging panel was made up of representatives from the Mayor, London First, RTPI and London Councils. The Mayor selected the winner of his special award for 'Planning Excellence'.

  • Visit our page on the London Planning Awards to see more about the category winners and commendations.
  • Visit our Awards page for information about the full range of awards we grant.