Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sketching at the Olympic park

With nine months still left till London Olympics, the Olympic park is still nothing but a huge construction site for a random visitor. Modern residential towers surrounding the place are even making it more obvious creating a contrast between finished buildings and enormous holes in the ground with steel rods sticking up from them. All that plus an unusually hot weather (it's the 1st of October, and it's been +29 degrees today) make it not very comfortable place to visit. Upon arrival, you find yourself on a flat concrete plate under the cloudless sky, with very few shadows or air conditioned caf├ęs around, but still surrounded most of time with a crowd of sunglassed tourists.

The ArcelorMittal Orbit undoubtedly dominates the area:

The ArcelorMittal Orbit

Being often called "the largest sculpture in Britain", to me it is clearly a piece of architecture, a tower rather than a statue - otherwise, the Eiffel tower should be called "sculpture" as well. Its only function, however, is to serve as a landmark and provide an observation platform when complete.

The ArcelorMittal Orbit

The river Lee which flows nearby was also dying under the sun, though there were nice buildings along its way:

Lee Valley Regional Park

Surprisingly the hottest discussion related to Stratford last days was not related to the Olympics venues-to-be but to the huge shopping centre opened nearby. Is that really an important event? I don't like big multi-brand shopping malls and was quite happy to find London much less dependent on them than Moscow was. Hopefully that will last, but the more metal and glass I see around the less am I happy.

Lee Valley Regional Park

I didn't apply for Olympics tickets since I have no interest in professional sport. Still I am very tempted to visit the site once again when the works are over - the project is very ambitious as is a huge boost for Stratford, already causing the prices to fly and the postcode wars to begin. But yes, when it is ready. No sooner, I am afraid.

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