Recladding Olympia

Heatherwick Studio to overhaul massive London exhibition center

Development International
(Courtesy Yoo Capital)
(Courtesy Yoo Capital)

Thomas Heatherwick’s studio has released renderings of their plan to overhaul Olympia, an events center in west London. The design would transform the Victorian exhibition hall into a high-profile mixed-use space.

Heatherwick Studio, along with London-based architecture firm SPPARC, will transform the 130-year-old exhibition hall into a mixed-use district that will hold a hotel, theatre, museums, co-working spaces, restaurants, and entertainment spaces. The $920 million project will completely overhaul the space to make way for almost 600,000-square-feet of office and studio space, and 70,000-square-feet of co-working space. Another 2.5 acres will be dedicated towards public areas.

The renderings also reveal plans to pedestrianize Olympia Way and add new public and community spaces while preserving the historic facade, as well as a new, modern building for a theater and performing arts space.

Rendering of Heatherwick Studio’s design for Olympia. (Courtesy Yoo Capital)

The redevelopment of Olympia is set to position it as a global destination for creative industries, as well as having a significant impact on its surrounding area, like the regenerations of Covent Garden and King’s Cross.

The owners of Olympia, Deutsche Finance and Yoo Capital, first announced that they were planning to develop the site in 2017. Olympia was completed in 1886 and designed by architect Henry Edward Coe. It’s key features, a massive domed window and an arched roof supported by ironwork, will not be affected by the redevelopment. The 15-acre site hosts exhibitions and events annually, such as 100% Design, part of the London Design Festival, and welcomes 1.6 million visitors every year.

Rendering of Heatherwick Studio’s design for Olympia. (Courtesy Yoo Capital)

“As caretakers of Olympia London, we are investing to protect this iconic site and promote it on the global stage as a world-leading destination for the creative industries,” John Hitchcox, chairman of Yoo Capital, said.

The current designs were developed with feedback from event organizers, exhibitors, and visitors. There will be a period of public consultation before a planning application is submitted in September of this year. Meanwhile, Heatherwick Studio is working on Google’s headquarters in King’s Cross with Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG).

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