The landscape architects responsible for the Olympic Park have proven to a global audience that when a development is landscape-led the result can be wonderful, sustainable, and a source of national pride. Having studied its development through our Institute’s news and seminars, it was essential that 2B visited the Olympic Park whilst it was still in "Olympic mode". It will be closed straight after the Paralympics and transformed into "Legacy mode", reopening to the public in 2013.
We attended the morning’s competition in the stadium, which was a stunning experience. No amount of watching it on TV prepares you for the sight of that wonderfully sculptural flame, a beacon of international sportsmanship. The roar of the crowd follows the racers around the stadium and washes over you, from left to right, like a physical wave. And we certainly weren’t prepared for the Discus medal ceremony, where the Bronze medal winner had such severe cerebral palsy that he needed to be helped to the podium. The obvious adversity he had overcome, coupled with his absolute delight, meant it was impossible to keep a dry eye. All of us were taken by surprise at being so moved.
Exploring the park after the athletics, we found a wonderful landscape being enjoyed by hundreds of visitors - walking by the river, relaxing in the meadows, eating lunch and watching a band...nobody was rushing to leave, just delighting in the space and the atmosphere!
The last question of the visitor survey asked us to sum up our response in three words: they were “proud, inspired, moved”.