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Five years on

from London

2012, the


in Stratford

has continued,

with culture

and education

at the top of

the agenda

The 2012 Olympics was the catalyst

for large-scale regeneration in

Stratford. The cultural impact of the

Olympics was significant, not least

because it brought the area into

focus for a much wider audience.

Five years on from London 2012,

the momentum in Stratford has

continued, with culture and education

at the top of the agenda. We have

already seen the repositioning of

the Olympic Broadcasting Centre

into Here East (a 1.2 million sq ft

development, which is now home to

Loughborough University’s London

campus, UCL’s satellite campus,

Wayne MacGregor’s dance studio a

number of tech focused companies

such as BT Sport and the Plexal

innovation hub). The next stage

of the journey is the proposed

‘Olympicopolis’, scheduled to open

in 2021. This will add to the legacy of

the games as a number of world-class

institutions, covering art, education,

dance, design and technology head

eastwards. The scheme will provide

up to 3,000 jobs and visitor numbers

are forecast to reach 1.5 million. The

centerpiece is a new outpost for the

Victoria & Albert East Museum, where

it will dedicate space to showcase

digital art and design and include a

permanent exhibition space from the

world renowned Smithsonian. It will sit

alongside a Sadlers Wells dance centre

and the University of Arts new fashion

campus at Stratford Waterfront.

Another area that has benefitted

from a carefully curated and

methodical development approach

is King’s Cross. The upgrading of

the buildings and spaces into a truly

mixed-use urban area has been

critical in creating a sense of place.

One of the most noticeable features

of the new development is how well

integrated the cultural amenities are

with the surrounding area, bringing

the public into direct contact with

music, theatre, art and dance. This is

exemplified in King’s Place, where the

lower floors are host to concert space

– the first public concert hall to be

built in London for more than 25 years

– and art galleries. King’s Cross even

has its own Musician in Residence,

the result of a collaboration between

King’s Cross and the PRS for Music

Foundation, who occupy space in

the estate. As well as the arts, the

area is developing a reputation as

one of the world’s leading knowledge

clusters. A catalyst for growth was

the arrival of Central St Martins to

the area, along with the Francis Crick

Institute who joined well-established

entities such as the British Library

and the Wellcome Trust to help drive

the dramatic transformation from

industrial wasteland to cultural hub.

Camden is the heart and soul of

alternative culture in London. Much

of the activity is centred on Camden

Market; a diverse community of over

1,000 creative sellers, street food

traders and independent stores. The

market itself is made up of several

markets each with a character of its

own; from crafts and Japanese pop

culture in Camden Lock Village to

vintage clothing in the Stables Market.

It now draws crowds from all over

the world. Camden has long been

home to London’s after hours music

industry. The musical institutions of

KOKO and the Roundhouse have been

particularly influential. KOKO began

life as a Victorian theatre back in the

late 1800s and was reincarnated as

a music venue in the 1970s enjoying

notoriety and providing a platform

for many of the first-wave punk

bands such as The Sex Pistols & The

Clash. The Roundhouse, a Grade 2

listed former railway engine repair

shed was transformed into a ground-

breaking performing arts venue 50

years ago and now welcomes artists

from all over the world. However,

in an era where live music venues

are increasingly under pressure and

increasingly come into conflict from

neighbouring residents, reinvention is

the name of the game and KOKO is in

discussions to develop a hotel as part

of a major refurbishment of the club

to help preserve not only its future

but the cultural identity of the area.


King’s Cross