Beyond 2012 - an integrated Design Story

Athletes’ Village, plot 10
A built environment story

“European urban apartment buildings were an inspiration for us – there’s a hint of Cerdà’s chamfered Barcelona blocks in the design.”

Eric Parry,

Tell us about the early design brief

To design 281 town houses and apartments in six number ten storey blocks around a shared courtyard garden. These would be used by athletes during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and then as a mixture of social and private housing after the Games.

What inspired your design concept?

European urban apartment buildings were an inspiration for us – there’s a hint of Cerdà’s chamfered Barcelona blocks. Our block has a horizontal emphasis rather than being made up of a composite of differentiated parts. It has a base of townhouses and retail units, then upper balconies and the horizon of the rooftop.

What challenges did you face along the way?

With the London 2012 Games as a deadline, we worked intensely. We had to look at pre-fabricating as many components as possible to speed up construction. This included pre-cast concrete façade panels with pre-installed windows, balconies, bathroom pods, stairs and structural columns.

Did you know…

  • The gull wing roofs of the uppermost apartments look like Union Jacks when seen from the air

What about specific design challenges?

We wanted a pre-cast concrete façade with minimal joints between the panels and a variety of scales and textures. We trialled different textures and finishes and designed an interlocking system of joints to visually mask the ‘grid’ that is common to pre-cast facades.

We also wanted colour on the facades, which would be durable and colour fast, so we took original hand-painted artworks and screen-printed them onto vitreous enamel panels as part of the balconies.

How did it feel to be involved in such an important British project?

The London 2012 Olympics were a great showcase of British talent and organisation and we were very proud to be part of that. We are also proud to play a part in a new quarter for London.


Company name
Eric Parry Architects

Athletes’ Village, Plot 10


Project team

Eric Parry

Nick Jackson

Tim Lynch
Associate Director

Lee Higson
Associate Director

Anil Mistry
Project Architect

Brendan Durkin

Catharin Knuth

Cecilie Kjeldsen

Chloe Robinson
Administrator/Quality Manager

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