Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

London, England

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is one of the largest regeneration projects ever to be undertaken in the UK. At roughly 200 hectare, it is an incredibly varied site consisting of permanent and temporary Olympic quality sporting arenas, a rich mix of horticulture and biodiversity including wildflower meadows and animal housing, and over thirty commissioned art pieces.

Following the completion of a comprehensive Interpretation Plan, which presents a suite of interpretive ideas to enliven the Park’s story, RAA was commissioned by the Olympic Development Authority to develop two main features: a series of “The Knowledge” plaques, which present unique facts or quotes and form a series of trails, and a digital app that brings out the socio-cultural history behind one of the largest planting schemes ever in the UK.

RAA designed and scripted a series of bronze plaques which capture the cultural and natural heritage of the Olympic Park through stories about regeneration, sustainability, the environment and the art program. These plaques are distributed throughout the Olympic Park, creating an interpretive trail that invites visitors to explore the Park and its stories, and for visitors to collect rubbings from the raised bronze illustrations.

RAA also led the development of a smartphone app and mobile-optimized website centered upon the London 2012 Gardens. The GPS-enabled app allows users to unearth the stories behind the gardens and explore its plants from the world’s major climatic zones. Visitors can listen to audio interviews with landscape designers, learn about the plants’ social history and collect tips and tools to recreate the planting scheme at home.

Olympic Park was planned to have a legacy far beyond the Games in 2012 and transform from an international sporting and cultural arena into “Legacy,” a community park. As part of this ongoing transformation, RAA has been commissioned to create twenty five new plaques for distribution throughout the Park and to tell the ‘story’ of East London’s regeneration on the Olympic Park site, through a variety of media that connects with visitors from all over the world.

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park won the Mayor of London’s prestigious award for “Planning Excellence” at the 2013 London Planning Awards. The site is Europe’s most significant landscape project for a generation, and the largest new urban park in the capital. It is acting as a major catalyst for regeneration in the east of London.

London Olympic Delivery Authority

500 acres

© 2014, Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Inc.