Olympics South Park

Groundbreaking wins live space work for London Olympics 2012

Manchester-based Groundbreaking, the property and regeneration wing of event and live communications Ear to the Ground, has had its largest win to date – delivering live space consultancy as part of the team delivering Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park South for the London Olympics 2012.

The Olympic Park Legacy Company has announced the winners of the competition to create public space that will welcome millions of visitors to the new park. Groundbreaking will advise on events, activities and programming that could take place within the South Park alongside sketched layout scenarios for the primary event spaces.

Olympics SouthparkGroundbreaking was brought in by New York-based James Corner Field Operations, having recently completed projects for the new Co-operative Group headquarters, Ask Developments' First Street North and Argent's King's Cross.

James Corner Field Operations' design concept features a tree-lined promenade connecting flexible spaces for events, cultural programmes, food stalls and other attractions. The team is aiming for a London's South Bank feel for the area.

The New York architectural practice is renowned for its contemporary design across a variety of projects including the award winning and widely acclaimed High Line in New York City, a green space on a previously disused elevated rail line which is recognised as one of the best new public spaces in the world in recent years.

James Corner Field Operations will lead a team collaborating with engineers Arup, Make Architects, identity and graphics by Tomato, planting and horticulture by Piet Oudolf of the Netherlands, lighting designers and consultants L'Observatoire International of New York, events and live activity planning by Groundbreaking, play consultants Playlink, quantity surveyors Drivers Jonas Deloitte.

David Norris, operations director, groundbreaking said: "The successful delivery of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is a key element in a project that will create a meaningful legacy generations to come. Groundbreaking relishes the challenge of delivering a fresh strategic element as part of an auspicious international team."

Design teams were asked to come up with imaginative plans for a visitor centre and playground in the green river valley of the north park, and a 50 acre urban landscape in the south plaza sitting between the Stadium, Aquatics Centre and the ArcelorMittal Orbit.

The winners were chosen from over 100 entries from across Europe, Asia and North America before being shortlisted to five teams per competition and judged by an expert panel. They will now work with the Legacy Company to develop more detailed plans for each area.
Andrew Altman, chief executive of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, said: "We were impressed by the creativity of all the design concepts but James Corner Field Operations and Erect Architecture [winner of the north park competition] really captured the character of the park as a compelling destination.

"These spaces will be one of the first new public spaces and facilities added to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. It is another example of how legacy plans for the Park are more advanced than any other previous host Olympic city."

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "The fantastic legacy we are building at the Olympic Park is already taking shape. These inspiring public spaces will be at the centre of the new communities that are rising in this brand new quarter of the capital. I congratulate these two winners, who now have the chance to put their stamp very firmly on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for generations to come."

The jury members for the South Park Design Competition were: Andrew Altman, chief executive of the Olympic Park Legacy Company; Kathryn Firth, chief of design at the Olympic Park Legacy Company; Colin Naish, executive director of infrastructure, Olympic Park Legacy Company; Malcolm Ross, executive director of park operations and venues, Olympic Park Legacy Company; Paul Brickell, executive director of regeneration and community partnerships, Olympic Park Legacy Company; Catherine Mallyon, deputy chief executive, Southbank Centre; Sarah Gaventa, public space, urban design and cultural regeneration consultant; Lindsey Whitelaw, landscape architect and public realm consultant.

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