Ian Scott International


Thomas Heatherwick’s plans to overhaul Olympia London revealed

Plans for the overhaul of Olympia London Exhibition Centre by star designer Thomas Heatherwick have been revealed, as the area gets a £700m cash injection.

The key features of the listed 130-year-old exhibition centre – the domed window and arched roof supported by ironwork – will not be affected by the refurbishment, which is being carried out by Heatherwick Studios and architectural firm SPPARC.  

It will add more than two acres of public realm and green space, as well as turn it into a destination with restaurants, a theatre and performing arts centre, cinema, co-working space and offices.

Investors in the west London development, Yoo Capital and Deutsche Finance, bought Olympia in £296m with the hope that the historic venue will be able to compete with other major exhibition centres, such as the ExCEL in East London and Frankfurt Exhibition Centre.

John Hitchcox, chairman of Yoo Capital, said: ‘As caretakers of Olympia London, we are investing to protect this iconic site and promote it on the global stage as a world-leading destination for the creative industries.”

Olympia has long had an arty reputation, including hosting Vivienne Westwood’s first fashion show. Part of the new plan is to create 600,000 sq ft of new creative offices and studios.

Planning permission is being submitted in September, and if it is given the green light it will not be closed in the three to five years of building work. 

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