Technical Study: The Gantry, Here East, London


Hawkins Brown has created a colourful new hub for artists using the open source WikiHouse construction system

When the International Broadcast Centre and Main Press Centre was built for the London 2012 Olympics, it was fair to say that it was the “ugly duckling” of all the permanent venues. So much so that former government design quality overseer Cabe savaged the architecture as being “extremely weak [and] lacking real conviction as to how it could work in transition and legacy”.

With long-term use for the complex proving difficult to find after the Games, it was at risk of demolition – which makes its £100m transformation today into a 1.2 million ft² business, tech, media, education and data campus all the more impressive.

“The wikihouse system used a standardised kit of parts, but also enabled a high degree of customisation in size, shape, openings and cladding”

Nicola Rutt, Hawkins\Brown

What is now known as Here East has been reclad in bright colours and a dazzle-patterned glass skin to become home to BT Sport and Loughborough University’s London satellite, along with a number of canalside bars, cafes and restaurants. But it is the venue’s role as what redevelopment architect Hawkins\Brown calls “London’s home for making” that marks the most ambitious change from its original Olympic function.

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