UCL East


Boris Johnson announces multi-million pound boost to the delivery of the Olympicopolis project

9 November 2015


The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has today revealed that private backers have pledged an initial £45m towards the realisation of his Olympicopolis project at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Olympicopolis aims to create a world-leading cultural and educational legacy for east London in the wake of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games, and will create 3,000 jobs, attract 1.5 million visitors a year, and deliver a £2.8 billion boost to the economy of Stratford and the surrounding area.

The funding is in addition to £141 million already committed by the Chancellor George Osborne. The Mayor is now calling for further private donors and corporate supporters to get behind the project, which is to be developed on Stratford Waterfront next to the Aquatics Centre and the ArcelorMittal Orbit. 

Tonight at the Olympic Stadium the Mayor will host a reception and fundraising drive for Olympicopolis alongside the Foundation for FutureLondon, which was established to help realise the potential of Olympicopolis and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to benefit local people through the promotion of arts, culture, science and education.

Inspired by South Kensington's Exhibition Road and the Southbank Centre, which were born out of the 1851 Great Exhibition and the Festival of Britain, Olympicopolis is bringing world class institutions to the park, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the University of the Arts London, Sadler's Wells and the University College London (UCL). The aim is to showcase, encourage and produce exceptional art, dance, craft, science, technology and cutting-edge design. The Mayor and the London Legacy Development Corporation have also held discussions around a potential partnership agreement with the world renowned Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC. 

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'Olympicopolis will bring some of the world's leading institutions in culture and education to the heart of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, helping ensure its status as an internationally significant destination for Londoners and people from across the globe. But we want it to do much more than that. As well as being a magnet for domestic and international visitors, the Foundation for FutureLondon's activities will ensure that strong links will be forged with local communities so that they benefit in the long term from  the creation of new jobs and the realisation of new cultural and educational opportunities.'

Sir William Castell has been appointed chair of the Foundation for FutureLondon, which is dedicated to generating philanthropic support for the project. Sir William joins from the Wellcome Trust, one of the UK's largest fundraising bodies. The charity also has the support of Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, as its patron. 

Sir William Castell said: 'Our task is to build on the unparalleled success of the 2012 Games to create a world class 21st century city in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Olympicopolis is a project with enormous scale, vision and ambition. It is investing over £1bn to deliver access to the very best in education, technology and the arts, for the people of east London, enhancing the incredible cultural life already there. Following the Chancellor's investment last year, there is huge interest and excitement in the project. As a result The Foundation for FutureLondon has already raised £45m against our initial target of £180m. The excitement around tonight's event reinforces my own confidence that many more donors will want to help bring this brilliant vision to life.'

The leading institutions that will open new spaces as part of Olympicopolis are:

  • UAL will relocate and consolidate their world-leading London College of Fashion in Stratford on one campus linking to the textile heritage in the east.
  • Sadler's Wells will open a new venue designed to serve contemporary dance-makers and its growing audiences, expanding the range of work the dance house can commission, produce and tour. The space will include a 600-seat theatre as well as flexible 'making' spaces for research and development work, and facilities for a Choreographic School and a Hip Hop Academy.
  • The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) will create V&A East, a museum that will showcase its world-class collections of design, art, architecture and performance in new ways, explore the future of design and encourage public participation in every aspect of museum activity.
  • UCL East will create a dynamic and sustainable city quarter for education, learning and research. Embedded in the local community it will impact on a national and global scale, contributing to the Olympic legacy and the regeneration of East London.

Olympicopolis will create a significant artistic and cultural legacy following the London 2012 Games. Ten years since they were awarded to the capital, a special event is taking place this evening at The Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to mark the start of fundraising for the Foundation for FutureLondon. Hosted by the Mayor, the event will offer a taste of what will be coming to the park in seven years' time. There will be performances by dance artists from one of Sadler's Wells' talent development programmes, works exhibited by the Victoria and Albert Museum, and special presentations showcasing the University of the Arts London and University College London.' 

Building work on the Stratford Waterfront site is due to start in 2018 and it is due to be fully open to the public in 2022. Allies and Morrison are leading a team of architects, designers and master planners with detailed designs for the Stratford Waterfront site to be unveiled in the New Year. A design consortium led by LDA Design is in the process of developing a masterplan for the UCL East sites south of the ArcelorMittal Orbit tower.

Alistair Spalding, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Sadler's Wells, said: 'Olympicopolis represents a unique opportunity for Sadler's Wells to be part of one of the most significant cultural developments of our time. We will be able to create a new model for making and presenting dance, where artists are supported at every stage of their career and the public can engage with an even more diverse range of work. I am delighted the Foundation for FutureLondon will be working with us and the other partners to realise our ambition, and the substantial pledges it has already received are very encouraging.'

Nigel Carrington, Vice-Chancellor, UAL, said: 'The launch of Foundation For FutureLondon is an exciting milestone for Olympicopolis. As a founding Olympicopolis partner, I urge everyone to get behind this visionary project which will make East London the centre of the UK's huge creative economy.'

Professor Michael Arthur, UCL President and Provost, said: 'We are excited to be working with LLDC and our project partners to create a unique new cultural and education quarter for East London. Building on our existing engagement with local communities, UCL East will serve as a model for the university campus of the future, by being open and dynamic and breaking the conventional barriers between research, education, innovation, public engagement and collaboration.'

Martin Roth, Director of the V&A said: 'The V&A's origins lie in 'Albertopolis,' the world-renowned scientific and cultural quarter in South Kensington. In being a founding partner of 'Olympicopolis', we are part of an unmissable opportunity to create the 21st century equivalent in the heart of East London's thriving network of creative industries.'


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