Mayor seeks architects for “Olympicopolis”

V&A is developing its own brief for museum site
Patrick Steel
The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, yesterday announced an international design competition to find architects, master planners, engineers and landscape designers to create a new education and culture quarter on the site of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, London, dubbed “Olympicopolis”.

It is envisaged that the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) will have a presence on the site, alongside dance venue Sadler’s Wells, and University College London. Museums Journal understands that the US-based Smithsonian Museum has also been approached to host a venue at the site.

The two-stage competition, which is run by Malcolm Reading Consultants, will be launched in September, with five finalists asked to submit concept designs for the second stage, and a winner announced in March 2015.

According to a V&A spokeswoman, the museum’s involvement is still subject to funding from the London Legacy Development Corporation and central government, but it is developing its own design brief to outline the functional requirements of the museum site, which will be fed into the master plan for the overall site.

The V&A will also have representation on the panel that selects the architects, which will be chaired by Paul Finch, programme director of the World Architecture Festival.

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.”

Johnson also announced plans to re-zone the three Stratford stations – Stratford, Stratford International, and Stratford High Street – from zone three to zone two/three, which, it is hoped, would make the area more commercially attractive for workers, businesses and residents.

The re-zoning plans are subject to approval from the Department for Transport.


Updated to include information on funding for the V&A site.