iCITY — the body responsible for transforming the Press and Broadcast centres at the Olympic Park into a new East London tech hub — has ditched the original designs that were shown to the public earlier this year and has hired a new architecture firm to develop the plans.
The organisation revealed the designs from new firm Hawkins\Brown at a press event in London’s Covent Garden today that will replace earlier designs by GMW.
Techworld asked iCITY for comment on the reason behind the sudden change, but had not received an official response at time of publication. However, GMW Architects said that it was disappointed to no longer be involved in the design of iCITY.
iCITY CEO Gavin Poole said that there has been a “complete design overhaul” since the initial plans were pitched at a public consultation in March 2013. “The vision hasn’t changed it’s just the way we’re going to deliver that vision,” he said.
iCITY is made up of three main buildings, containing over a million square feet of space that needs to be designed and developed. The buildings include the 850,000 square foot former Broadcast Centre, the 300,000 square foot former Press Centre, and a 750 seat auditorium.
The digital enterprise hub will house start-ups, corporations, universities, venture capital funders, and a huge new data centre.
Nicola Rutt, a partner at Hawkins/Brown, said the designs for the "gargantuan" Broadcast Centre (big enough to house six 747s) take inspiration from aircraft hangers and warships, adding that the building will contain aircraft hanger doors covered in military style graphics.
The Broadcast Centre, which is already home to BT Sport, will house the Infinity data centre at its core where there is no natural light, and be enveloped by a 16 metre "crust", which will be used by other oganisations on the iCITY campus.
The Infinity Stratford data centre will be a 140,000 square foot data centre with 40MVA of diversely connected power. The company claims the datacentre will be one of the largest and most efficient in Europe, with low latency connections to the world's telecommunications networks that will be achieved due to the proximity to the majority of the UK's major internet peering point.
The Broadcast Centre will also include facilities for Loughborough University and Hackney Community College as well as a “gridded structure” that start-ups can use as a platform to create their own small buildings to house themselves in.
Rutt said the majority of the Press Centre will be filled with businesses, adding that there will be small units on the ground floor for small retail outlets, like artisan bakers and coffee shops, and a rooftop terrace overlooking the Olympic Stadium.
iCITY was first selected as the preferred bidder for the press and broadcast centres in April 2012 and so far more than £1 billion has been invested in the former press and broadcast centres, with £500 million coming from Infinity clients and £270 million coming from secured tenants.
The Hawkins/Brown designs were unveiled ahead of a public consultation in Hackney Wick on Wednesday evening.