Monday, 11 July 2011

Olympic Park

Last week a considerable number of Marketors met with a very well informed guide at Stratford station and travelled the one stop on the DLR to Pudding Mill to start a guided tour round the edge of the Olympic Park. First stop was the 'View Tube' a raised construction from which a very good view of the site could be had. Not all of it clearly for the site is, as our guide told us, the same size as Regents Park!The rather dodgy photo on the right shows the rather strange View Tube--the yellow construction. A lot of the site could be seen including, obviously, the main stadium, Zaha Hadid's magnificent Aquatic Center and the very strange ArcellorMittal Orbital Tower.

This is designed as as a spectacular piece of modern architecture and a major public attraction in the Park. It is currently only half built but the photo on the right shows what it will look like when finished. Designed by the award winning artist Anish Kapoor it will be the largest sculpture in the UK. Standing at 115metres it will be 22 metres taller than the Statue of Liberty. Not only will there be a viewing platform at the top from which the whole Park can be seen but also a restaurant. Unsurprisingly opinion is divided over the aesthetics of this piece of modern sculpture. The cost? A cool £19 million largely funded by ArcelorMittal. The intention is that, post the Olympics, in the words only a politician would use ''This stunning structure will become a new iconic London Landmark (Tessa Jowell).
Walking along the edge of the Park with the River Lea on one side we could clearly see that the turf had been laid in the main stadium and indeed the Park is now 80% complete. The stadium is structurally complete with the roof and all the spectator seats installed. The cycling Velodrome is completely finished and the Aquatics Centre nearly so. Three quarters of the accommodation for athletes is completed. The media centre, to house 2,000 journalists, is as big as the main tower block in Canary Wharf were it laid down sideways. Much work as we could see is now going into tree planting and hard landscaping. Continuing our walk we came round the edge of the site to Fish Island and the wonderful Forman and Field smokehouse and restaurant. Forman's is a 100 year old family business supplying smoked salmon, caviar and other smoked fish to top class hotels and restaurants. They were sited right in the middle of the Park. To persuade them to move the Park Authority built them a brand new smokery and restaurant in a perfect position 100 metres from the Park with fantastic views. Here looking across the river Lea at the Stadium we had a delightful fish buffet and wine. If you go onto the Forman and Field web site, ( apart from seeing the wonderful selection of gourmet food on offer, you will find they have a webcam on their roof permanently focussed on the Olympic site. It was a perfect end to a fascinating tour.

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