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OLYMPIC GAMES / OLYMPIC PARK PUBLIC REALM, LONDON, UK


MULTI-STORY PARKLAND


Sutton Vane Associates were tasked with creating the Public Realm lighting strategy that linked together not just the venues within the Olympic Park, but the multi-layered needs of those using it during the games and beyond.


From the early planning stages, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) knew the Olympic Park would be judged on much more than just the headline grabbing sporting venues within it. A strong public realm lighting strategy was essential to the creation of a cohesive park design, one that could accom- modate the needs of various stakeholders both during the games and in the legacy period in the years to follow. In 2008, Sutton Vane Associates (SVA) were asked to create a lighting strategy to sit alongside similar documents, such as the Urban Design Legacy Framework, Inclusive Design Strategy, Waterspace Masterplan and Biodiversity Action Plan, which were all required to gain planning approval. Each focused on six key priorities: sustainability; connectivity; health and safety; design and accessibility; legacy; and equality and inclusion. Lighting was the last to be writ- ten, so SVA were able to consult the other documents and attempt to incorporate their recommendations.


The process highlighted some obvious conflicts, not least between the need to protect biodiversity (eg low light levels to avoid affecting bat feeding patterns or aquatic life) and the need for safe, secure access though the park (well lit routes, with particular consideration to the visu- ally impaired). In balancing these various requirements, SVA met with all ODA major stakeholders to ensure their needs were properly addressed. Consultation included the greater London Authority, London Devel- opment Agency, London Organising Com- mittee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG), Transport for London, Legible London, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, British


Waterways, the Environment Agency and all four of the neighbouring London boroughs (Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest).


The lighting strategy addressed a number of key issues, including the need to reduce energy use on the site and to consider the role of lighting in the legacy period after the games had finished. Working with the Wayfinding Strategy, the team identified the main routes that would be used during the games and where pedes- trian flow would be concentrated. They also looked at plans for legacy use, when much of the hard landscape would be replaced by green space and the park would form a link between the 5,000-8,000 new homes being planned around the site. In both cases, ma- jor nodes were mapped and their connect- ing routes marked out. This became a useful tool for assessing where permanent lighting should be installed and where temporary games time lighting could be used. In one of the ODA’s Learning Legacy talks for the Institute of Engineering and Technol- ogy, ODA Head of Design Kay Hughes under- lined this point. “One of the key aspects was first of all to identify what we required in legacy. The opportunity of having a park around which a new urban area of London is resolving itself was key, and then giving people the chance to connect across that safely and securely post-games was one of primary objectives.” An external lighting designer, Speirs + Major, was appointed to review the lighting strategy and further develop a series of criteria to which all future developments had to adhere (or give strong reasons for not doing so). They helped the individual


Pic: Jason Hawkes


projects on the Olympic site to comply with the strategy and with good lighting practice in general.


Consideration was given to the Athletes Village and the new Westfield shopping centre, which sits at the edge of the park, to ensure there was a consistent approach – not only in terms of fixture design, but also in the colour temperature and lux levels used.


As part of the key recommendations of the strategy, a common procurement policy was devised. Large contracts were put together to offer best value for much of the key lighting throughout the park, as well as enabling the team to negotiate the return of temporary lighting to the manufacturer post-games.


Another important recommendation related to the development of character. “From a client perspective, I can’t stress


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