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.
We had the good fortune to be shown around by tony o’reilly, get living london’s head of property and operations.
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.
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.
What do you think of the elgin’s marbles frieze?
This is a block of flats with lots of black in it. Hence the name ‘nero’, which means black in italian!
One of the townhouses.
There is a school for 3-5 years old, 5-11 years old and chobham academy for 11-18 years old. (see here below)
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.
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.
You’ve got to love a building site, right? I simply had to put these in!
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).
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.