London Life Places

east village – e20

May 20, 2013

Who remembers the london olympics 2012? Anyone? Well, it seems so long ago that i had the privilege to attend the paralympics opening ceremony. I still miss the atmosphere we had here in london and i hope the legacy will live on forever. (i think it just might)

So, i was delighted to attend two different events in the past fortnight that let me re-live that time for a couple of hours. The first one was in the form of a designers breakfast at the design museum. The theme was ‘collaborations’ and to kick off the series they were celebrating the largest and most complicated creative collaboration ever – the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The second one was a private tour of london’s newest neighbourhood – east village, e20, due to open as early as this summer for phase 1. I found myself back around the olympic village and thought you might enjoy a mini-tour here on colourliving. Thank you east village london for inviting me.

Let me give you the science bit straight up: 2818 homes – from studios to 5-bedroom townhouses. 11 plots and blocks designed and by 11 different architects. The homes are divided between 2 companies. Thriathlon homes, who allow you to rent or buy a home in the village and get living london, ‘a new residential owner and rental management company, who let homes direct to residents, making renting refreshingly straightforward and convenient’. The tour was organised by get living london.

As a home finder and designer i was very interested to see what a new village looks like, having had the opportunity of starting with a complete blank sheet.

The first thing to tell you is that security was tight. I had to bring identification and we had to have passes. The site is still in working progress so there are fences and barricades everywhere. I tried my best to avoid them in photos.

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We had the good fortune to be shown around by tony o’reilly, get living london’s head of property and operations.

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Tony is the best advertising for get living london. Passionate, engaging and very knowledgeable, after working on this for 4,5 years there is nothing the man does not know about the east village project. Here are a few interesting facts: east village is 40 hectares (400,000 square meters). It is the smallest athletes village in history. There will be up to 300 retail units. Security measures were so stringent that there were no fatalities amongst the construction workers. A first i’m told!

Let’s start the tour! With a new village comes new street signage. There is a story to each one but it will take far too long to go into this here.

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These are some of the architecture of the buildings that caught my eye and some details. We couldn’t actually enter any of the homes as they were all being fitted with kitchens. Although the athletes stayed in all homes during the olympics, none of them had kitchens and all meals were served in a dedicated space.

Homes will meet high levels of sustainability including code for sustainable homes Level 4. With other buildings, such as the retail and commercial units, they are aiming to achieve the BREEAM ‘excellent’ standard of design.

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What do you think of the elgin’s marbles frieze?

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This is a block of flats with lots of black in it. Hence the name ‘nero’, which means black in italian!

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One of the townhouses.

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There is a school for 3-5 years old, 5-11 years old and chobham academy for 11-18 years old. (see here below)

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There’s also a dance, gymnasium and theatre building. You’ll also find a gym.

Of course, there are extensive green spaces and there’s even a pond. They are planting over 3,000 new mature trees (including an orchard planting) and creating landscaped public spaces.

Additionally, they’ve created new wetlands and attenuation ponds that will collect rainwater from across the development and this will be used to irrigate plants and trees and provide grey water for the academy. In practical terms this means that the homes are built to be very well insulated and will have access to green energy through power generated at the east village energy centre.

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The highlight for me was to see the sir ludwig guttmann medical centre, which opens this september, together with the schools. The architecture is superb.

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You’ve got to love a building site, right? I simply had to put these in!

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At east village, you’ll be within easy walking distance of the queen elizabeth olympic park, the aquatics centre, olympic pool, velodrome and other world class sporting facilities.

Westfield stratford city shopping centre is on your doorstep together with stratford international station with its outstanding transport connections to st pancras (7 minutes), the city (12 minutes), the west end (20 minutes) and europe (under 2 hours).

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So what did i think? Well, i was pleasantly surprised. A lot of thinking and design has gone into east village and since renting is starting to outweigh buying (for the foreseeable future) i’m all for flexible and transparent renting terms. I look at rental properties all week long, dismissing 97% of them due to greedy landlords not re-investing back into their properties, yet demanding far too high rents for very low quality of property in return.

I’m often shown flats that haven’t even been cleaned after the tenants moved out. Those flats still get rented because people are often desperate to move quickly. Everything is demand and supply and landlords know that. At the moment you’ll find that many properties for rent in london have a price decrease. That’s because they were on for far too much rent in the first place. It’s rare for tenants in london to be completely happy with the property they live in and actually speak highly of either their landlord or the management company employed to deal with issues in the property.

I’m encouraged by the get living london promise of responding quickly and efficiently to residents needs, due to their presence in the village. In fact, they could put me out of work:-) and why not. I’m all for this new way of renting.

In terms of village and community, it’s difficult for me to predict what this will be like. I’d have to return in 12 months, after all homes are filled and observe if the original ideas and hopes for the village materialised. For now, i’ll give it the thumps up.

What do you guys think of east village? Would love to know your experiences with renting.

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23 Comments

  • Reply caroline @trend-daily May 20, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    What a fabulous looking project-so great to see everything being put to such good use. I’d be very intrigued to see it. WIll they still have the amazing Kings Cross link to get there (that made all the difference for the games). I haven’t rented for years, but I am a landlord with my sister 😉 We love our little house and always make the effort to make it as nice as possible-although in our case, we have to hold back from getting carried away and spending too much! Some of our tennants have been great and others less so-very disappointing-interesting to see the difference in people… cx

    • Reply tina May 27, 2013 at 4:44 pm

      Yes, felt privileged to be shown around…
      The link to St Pancras exists and is literally 7 mins. That’s waht makes this such an attractive proposition.

      Listen, there are some great landlords and I tend to find them:-) but you know London is very different. Everybody knows there’s shortages of flats to rent in London and Landlords abuse that.
      I would love to rent from people like you and your sister because you understand that a rented home is also a home to someone and because you care. Full stop!!!!
      I say, there needs to be more Landlords like you and your sis.

      Agreed. Tenants can be equally shoddy. It’s a little bit of luck there. Many Landlords I know don’t use Estate Agents but choose their own tenants. That’s what I would do.

      Thanks lovely x

  • Reply Chi @ 106 May 20, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    It certainly looks very well thought out, doesn’t it? I love the sustainability angle (planting of trees, etc.) and the plethora of amenities they’ve laid on. It’ll be interesting to revisit it in, say, 10 years to see how it (and its residents) have fared.

    I last rented a flat as a 2nd and 3rd year student in London and it was exactly as you described – overpriced and owned by the most lackadaisical landlord in the world. My flatmates and I made sure he made the changes/improvements we agreed on but by God it was like extracting blood from a stone!

    • Reply tina May 27, 2013 at 4:49 pm

      Yes, the proof will be when it becomes a village with a community and that will take time. I was very impressed withe the medical centre and schools et cetera.

      I was interested to hear that it’s the smallest Olympic Village. Yet, I get the feeling it will be a really successful one (yes, great legacy). It’s not always about money and size. I think the Olympics in London proved that point.

      And nothing has changed, well, it probably got worst as more and more people want to live in the capital!!
      Thanks love x

  • Reply Doris May 20, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    I love that there is going to be an additional 2818 homes as there is definately a housing shortage in London that needs to be addressed. And in addition to this I love that all the appropriate amenities such as medical, schools etc are also being built to support the people who will eventually be living there. I think that this is a great legacy that has been left over from the Olympics and a practical way to re-use what was in the past an un-inhabitable area. xD

    • Reply tina May 27, 2013 at 5:13 pm

      It was a real privilege to see the village. Built from nothing, it’s an incredible undertaking and very successful collaboration. Imagine there was nothing there before!!
      How fascinating to work on something where you can create your desired village from scratch. Amazing!

      The medical centre was really first class. Part of me wanted to be in the catchment area:-)

      It’s quite impressive as a scheme and makes great use of an ‘un-inhabitable area’ as you rightly pointed out.
      Thanks Doris x

  • Reply Parisbreakfast May 21, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Would love to have been in your shoes to see this!

    • Reply tina May 27, 2013 at 5:13 pm

      Ha. With Mr Bear:-)

  • Reply Anya Jensen May 21, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Loved that they are utilizing the space, and creating much needed homes and a whole new community actually. I have missed the development of that whole area really, last time I went there it wasn’t really all that, and not much going on around Stratford. I would have loved to be on that tour, very exciting. Happy day to you and see you shortly,
    Ax

    • Reply tina May 27, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      Hope you enjoyed The Hive!! Got over the shock now… hopefully see you in Copenhagen xx

  • Reply Gerard @WalnutGrey May 21, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    It looks good, but I know I couldn’t live there. The planning has resulted in too much of a contrived feel for me. I prefer a more organic flow. Of course it is no mean feat to create a whole new village and I hope it is a fantastic success story. Newham certainly needs something like this. Having done some work in Newham, I remember it as a pretty deprived borough and it’ll be interesting to see how the homes are allocated or who is able to rent and buy them. It might be controversial to say so, but in my own personal experience, privately owned housing mixed with social rented housing/housing association don’t work. I stress it is my own experience… but the renters couldn’t have cared less about the development. This was when I lived in Peckham.

    I do love door no. 54. A great colour 😉 Of course, once the place is lived in and used it will no doubt find its character and soul… well I hope it will. And I also hope no one hangs their washing on those balconies. That’d be plain wrong!

    Thanks for sharing & great insights xx

    • Reply tina May 27, 2013 at 5:26 pm

      Newham is deprived and I also did some work there. I was shown around by Get London Living. They own half of the homes and are private Landlords.
      Yes, it will be interesting to see the Social Housing part.

      It’s always good to be controversial and to express own experiences. There’s no reason that this should work in East Village any better than anywhere else. It would, however, be interesting whether they have put strategies in place for this to work better in the new neighbourhood. It’s difficult to change anything historical but when you can start from scratch, you have a better chance!

      Hahaha. Mr Aesthetics. If it were up to you, people would have to pay a fine should they even consider to hang washing from those balconies:-)) Priceless!

      I have a sneaky suspicion I know why you like door no. 54:-))

      Pleasure. Glad you enjoyed xx

  • Reply Jeremy May 21, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    I think London should pay attention to the street signs…could be time to think about legibility on ‘ye olde london’ signage systems…Nice

    • Reply tina May 27, 2013 at 5:27 pm

      Haha. Good point. Thank you for stopping by.

  • Reply James Balston May 25, 2013 at 8:03 am

    Inspiring, and what a great legacy, much needed in that part of town. Would love to visit, and particularly interested to see how it relates to surrounding city. By the way, my uncle designed the East Village garden at Chelsea this year. Did you go?

    • Reply tina May 27, 2013 at 5:32 pm

      Yes, a great legacy indeed. I should have invited you to come on the tour. Unfortunately we couldn’t see inside the flats/houses but I enjoyed walking around the complex AND it didn’t rain.

      I scootered there so enjoyed seeing how it all fits in. The connections to central London are impressive and Stratford International is a cool station. Then you have Westfield at your door stop and The Manhatten Loft Company are building some Hotel there.

      No, didn’t go but saw tweets from East Village on it. Ha. Fish out some pics from your uncle’s design and show us.. oh better I get East village to attach some here.
      Thanks James. x

  • Reply Nicola May 27, 2013 at 12:22 am

    What an inspiring article Tina, thank you very much, really interesting.
    It is good to see a new village developing with a great infrastructure in place. New developments usually happen with no centre, shops or trains.
    All the details look good too, even the numbers, the front doors, the frieze. Did they design a new font for the signage? The descendants of Baron Pierre de Coubertin must be delighted.

    • Reply tina May 27, 2013 at 5:33 pm

      Thought you would enjoy this. Thank you for reading.

      You’re so right. Developments are rarely thought through. It’s a point of: here’s a great building. Let’s build flats..

      Actually, not sure they designed a new font for the street signage. Will find out..
      Ha. Yes, Trist you to spot that…. xx

  • Reply Alison Sye June 1, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    I like it, although it needs a few years under its belt to get that lived-in feel

  • Reply bob September 10, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    cant wait

  • Reply Sha September 11, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    Hi Tina,
    We have been offered a 4 bed townhouse at the village as part of the social housing scheme. It wont be ready for viewing for another month or so, very excited and looking forward to it. I was wondering if you had actually seen any of the townhouses, wether they were stand alone houses or just part of a building/block or any other description that you may have observed during your visit regarding these town houses. Strangely Thameshomes who offered the house to us dont seem to have much info on the houses.

    • Reply tina September 12, 2013 at 7:19 am

      I’ve sent you an email which bounced back.

      I never saw any interiors and it’s best to wait until Thaneshomes provide you with some more information.

      Sounds exciting though. Good Luck.

      • Reply Sha September 19, 2013 at 4:50 pm

        Thanks!
        Sorry, email should have read shamim@sky.com.

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