diamond geezer

 Monday, September 02, 2013

LONDON 2012 → 2013
Athletes Village → East Village


Sorry, did I say that the East Village housing estate wasn't yet open? Appears it is. That's open in terms of being able to wander in from the surrounding neighbourhood and look around without being accosted by any security-type people, which I managed yesterday. Maybe that's because it was Sunday and most construction workers take a day off. Or maybe that's because a conscious and rather quiet decision has been made to connect to outside, because people are about to live here and they've got to be able to get home. No sign yet of actual residents, but buses are flowing through, and pupils start arriving at Chobham Academy next Monday. A few workers were fussing around some of the nearly-opened flats yesterday, along with proper security on roads within the estate that won't be open for some time. But a central patch of accommodation and recreation on Celebration Avenue is most definitely accessible, and nobody even blinks if you wander round with a camera.

My East Village gallery
There are 40 photographs altogether. [slideshow] [map]

A year ago the world's finest Paralympic athletes were living in these apartments, so someone's been extremely busy in the meantime transforming them for everyday use. Kitchens have been added and dividing walls removed, combining two athlete residences to create one saleable flat. You're probably too late to reserve one of the first batch, but there are nearly 3000 apartments all told and they're still flogging those. If you wander through Westfield's outdoor street, the marketing team have a shop unit where sales representatives sit waiting beside a 3D model in case anyone ever pushes open the glass door and asks for information. Wander around the estate itself and there are only hoardings, and a phone number to ring, and claims about how wonderful the whole place is. Not yet it isn't.

All the apartment buildings have a slightly different design, which helps to break up the uniformity, but most form square blocks arranged around the edges of a central courtyard garden. Each building is approximately ten storeys high, because you could pack in more athletes that way, and is entered via an automatic door at ground level. Where the insides aren't yet ready, a sign on the door urges visitors 'Blue shoes to be worn beyond this point'. The various buildings have eclectic names, and I assume some vague theme links them together. Tucana Heights, Ursa Mansions, Kaleidoscope House, Cavesson House, Patina Mansions... perhaps they were named by the same source who named all the East Village's roads with over-upbeat Olympic names. Medals Way has yet to open, but Cheering Lane and Prize Walk are now fully accessible, if somewhat twee.

A triangular expanse of grass is available for picnicking, frolicking and ball games - that's Victory Park - although the turf looks more like an also-ran at the moment. A long white wall temporarily shields the far side, where the apartments aren't yet ready, while a row of ugly concrete blocks prevents joyriders driving off the main road and churning up the grass. One hopes the developers have a more elegant solution to that particular problem in the final design. In one gap between buildings is a small wooden playground, currently pristine, with room for not many children to hang out. Other open spaces nearby tend to be piles of earth or potential construction sites, which means that certain views are distinctly less lovely, more like the outskirts of some Eastern European capital. A nicer touch are the colourful designs hung from several balconies, resembling the flags draped here when each block was home to a different nation's Olympic athletes.

The school's very quiet, as you'd expect before term starts. The main building's circular, and reached across the piazza of Ulysses Place. This peculiar space has part of an Alfred Lord Tennyson poem etched on the surrounding wall, presumably to inspire greatness during the day's lessons. Within this perimeter is a seemingly random arrangement of trees and crystalline blocks - I'd say octagonal-shaped chunks of pink granite - ideal for sitting on and nigh impossible to vandalise. Alongside is the academy's sports centre, a major undertaking, with an attractive selection of circular designs on one corner. When pupils have outdoor sports they cross a bespoke footbridge, attractively ribbed, which leads to an expanse of pitches and courts. Expect to see the Education Secretary turning up here soon for some major speech or press announcement, but he'll only be able to praise the facilities, and not yet the school's academic record.

It is strange wandering around a community that hasn't yet turned up. East Village's roads are entirely empty, apart from buses, construction vehicles and the occasional lost driver. Nevertheless the pedestrian crossing outside the school is already perfectly functional. I pressed the button, with zero traffic visible in either direction, and absolutely nothing happened for 30 seconds, at which point the lights changed, halting absolutely nobody, and I walked across. Various cycle lanes and advance stop lines were also entirely unnecessary, as any cyclist biking through could have had the entire road (or pavement) to themselves. But I wasn't completely alone on foot. A few Leyton residents had (correctly) worked out that this was now the quickest way to walk home from Westfield, so expect pedestrian numbers to increase.

It was also strange getting to walk along Temple Mills Lane for the first time in seven years. This used to a be a backroad ratrun leading to the Clays Lane housing estate, long since razed, whose cooperative residents could never afford the mortgage for any of the apartments on the new site. The northern arm of the old lane looks particularly bereft, still mostly development land, while the eastern arm links to the south end of Leyton. Only buses and taxis are supposed to cross the single-file bridge over the railway, which is one of the reasons the East Village isn't yet clogged with traffic. That and a lack of parking spaces - I don't think any of the future residents will be encouraged to be drivers.

This is just the beginning. Only a fraction of the East Village is ready, and there are five further neighbourhoods around the edge of the Olympic Park where construction has yet to begin. As Ken Livingstone planned, last year's festival of sport was merely the catalyst for the rebirth of this corner of London, a place where people will be proud to live and keen to invest. If you can afford to join the party, and you never really wanted a house with a garden anyway, E20 welcomes you.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
life viewed from london e3

email    twitter    G+

my flickr photostream

What's on this weekend?
Sunday 2nd October (8.30-6.30)
Thames Barrier Closure
Annual all-day test, peaking around high tide at 3pm.

twenty blogs
853
arseblog
ian visits
londonist
scaryduck
blue witch
city metric
the great wen
onionbagblog
edith's streets
spitalfields life
linkmachinego
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
london museums
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
The DG Tour of Britain
Comment Value Hierarchy

read the archive
Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

diamond geezer 2015 index
diamond geezer 2014 index
diamond geezer 2013 index
diamond geezer 2012 index
diamond geezer 2011 index
diamond geezer 2010 index
diamond geezer 2009 index
diamond geezer 2008 index
diamond geezer 2007 index
diamond geezer 2006 index
diamond geezer 2005 index
diamond geezer 2004 index
diamond geezer 2003 index
diamond geezer 2002 index

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
metro-land
capital ring
river fleet
piccadilly
bakerloo

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
boredom
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters
iceland

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
thunderbirds
routemaster
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
amsterdam
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
typewriters
doctor who
coronation
comments
blue peter
matchgirls
hurricanes
buzzwords
brookside
monopoly
peter pan
starbucks
feng shui
leap year
manbags
penelope
bbc three
vision on
piccadilly
meridian
concorde
wembley
islington
ID cards
bedtime
freeview
beckton
blogads
eclipses
letraset
arsenal
sitcoms
gherkin
calories
everest
muffins
sudoku
camilla
london
ceefax
robbie
becks
dome
BBC2
paris
lotto
118
itv