Olympics Landscape Legacy: Landscape Engineering the London Olympic Park

An interview with Tom Armour, Global Landscape Architecture Leader for Arup, on the role of the Landscape Engineer in the Olympic Project.  The film was made by Room60 as part of a series of 10 interviews commissioned by the Landscape Institute.  The films feature some of the key practitioners involved with the development and creation of the Olympic Park and Athletes’ Village.  Both Tom Armour of Arup and Matt Parker of Room60 are  alumni of the Landscape Architecture courses here at Kingston University.  Tom recently spent a day at the Landscape Interfaced Studio to present to post-graduate landscape students and also to give critical feedback on their recent New York and Hull projects.

In the short film Tom addresses some specific questions:

What was your role in the project, what was the site like when first visited and how was the soil on site treated?  Is additional training needed to turn a Landscape Architect into a Landscape Engineer, how can we encourage more inter-professional working in the future?  In relation to the site…What was the biggest innovation on site? How would you summarise the role of Landscape Architects on this project? How do you see the Park in five years time?

Landscape Engineering the Olympic Park – an overview

  • Transforming a London brownfield site into one of the largest urban parks in Europe.
  • Innovations proposed by Arup ensured challenging sustainability targets were met.
  • Project awarded CEEQUAL ‘Excellent Whole Project Award’ in 2012.

Arup’s landscape architects and engineers led the transformation of a 2.5km² derelict brownfield site into the Olympic Park – working closely with the client design consultants, planners and contractors at every stage of this important legacy project and was responsible for detailed design and coordination of the South Olympic Park Landscape and Public Realm – a geographically challenging site with significant ground-level changes and the added complication of large scale utilities.

The team demonstrated meticulous planning and programme management to successfully coordinate its work on the Park site with a number of other major projects being undertaken simultaneously, on the strictest of timescales.  Detailed design work covered the complex boundaries between landscape and the Games venues, bridges and utilities. Ensuring access for all visitors was a key objective and the Arup team explored levels and topography to find optimal solutions.

Billed as the ‘greenest Games to date’, meeting sustainability targets was of paramount concern. Consultants conceived and implemented innovative solutions to see these targets met:

  • The reuse of 90% of demolition material in the landscape works.
  • The use of concrete mixes with the highest possible recycled material content.

All materials used on the project were sampled and tested prior to final detailed design and specification. When the Games closed, Arup was asked to oversee the sensitive dismantling of temporary venues, structures and concourse areas to create permanent parkland, completing the renovation of one of London’s largest brownfield sites.  The Landscape and Public Realm South Park project won a CEEQUAL ‘Excellent Whole Project Award in 2012.  In legacy, the Park will become one of the largest contemporary urban parks in Europe.

Source: www.arup.com



  1. Pingback: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Transformation: A Landscape Legacy | Landscape Interface Studio

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