It’s been 6 years since the London 2012 Olympics, but the impact that it had can be felt throughout East London.

Since 2012 much has changed in the UK but the lasting effects of the Olympics will always be present. It brought further tourism to the city, invited property development and welcomed new residents to this historic part of industrial London. The presence of the Olympics will be felt for many years to come, and in this article, we will be looking at all the ways that London has changed since this event.

1/ East Village
2/ Olympic Park
3/ Changes In Hackney Wick
4/ History Of East London And How It’s Changed
5/ Creative Industries In East London
6/ Stratford: Evolving Into A Centre For Living

Aerial view of the Olympic Park showing the Olympic and Paralympic Village, Basketball Arena, and restored stream—park lands (top). Picture taken on 16 April 2012.

East Village

The East Village is a housing development in Stratford that was built to be the accommodation for the Olympic Village back in 2012. It has now been converted into residential housing for people living in East London. In fact, it has become its own residential district and as well as houses, is now the home to shops and restaurants. When you visit East Village, you are immediately aware of the proximity to the Olympic Park, now called the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and how these buildings have a legacy of Olympic success at such a young age.

Do you want to live in East London? There are beautiful residential properties in East Village that raise the standard of living in an area known for London’s industrial past. The architects responsible for the development created a stunning development that continued to attract people to the city which was growing rapidly. The apartments are primarily for single people and sharers, however, there are now larger homes, including five bedroom townhouses for those with families. This makes the East Village a vibrant and unique environment to live, creating a close community in an area which was desolate prior to the Olympic Games.

Even if you aren’t looking to move to London, there is still a lot of things for you to do in the East Village. If you are searching for a great place to go on a night out, East Village has a range of bars and restaurants making it a lively part of East London where you can live, work, shop and eat. It has all the makings of a great night out in London without having to travel all around for everything you want.

The retail stores are mostly independent with some larger chains providing the convenience residents have been used to, meaning that you won’t find anything quite like this on your typical high street. You could easily fill a full day here, walking around, shopping and stopping along the way for something to eat, while also marveling at the work that the east London architects did to make this place possible. The Olympics left behind a vibe in East London, and it was as if to say that ‘anything is possible’.

The Olympic Stadium and the Orbit Tower. To the front left is the practice track.

Olympic Park

The full name of this sporting complex is the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park which was built back in 2012 to be the home of the Olympic sporting events of the 2012 Summer Olympics and the 2012 Summer Paralympics. It is located across from the Stratford City development and is London’s third largest arena. The London architects who designed this stadium had a big job and earned London over 10,000 visitors in the first weekend that it opened. It is fair to say that they built an amazing stadium and created an icon for London.

People are still visiting this incredible stadium today, with the total visitor count reaching over 16 million to date. Since 2016, West Ham Football Club have occupied the London Stadium after moving from their ground a short distance away from Stratford. This is now a successful tourist spot in London that people will travel from all over the world to see.

There is something for everyone at the Olympic Park, whether you are wanting to watch a sporting event, or any other events that are happening on your chosen day. There are also playgrounds for the children to keep them occupied during the day and plenty of food and drink at the end of a long stay with a variety of cafes for you to choose from.

One of the things that attracts people to this park is to swim in the Olympic sized pools that were used during the Olympics. This is an experience that you likely aren’t going to get to do a lot in your life, and people love to be able to say that they swam in the same pool as some of the olympic legends. The Olympic Park brings a lot of tourists to London, and it is something that nobody visiting, is going to want to miss.

Changes In Hackney Wick

Hackney Wick sits on the fringe of the Olympic Park and as such has undergone some tremendous changes since the Olympics in 2012. What was once a derelict industrial estate has been transformed into an urban centre thanks to the mega-project that was underway in 2012. Thanks to the Olympics, the symbolism of Hackney Wick has soared, and the land value has increased rather dramatically. It would seem as though the Olympic mega-project was actually the gentrification of Hackney Wick.

It cannot be ignored that there have been large structural and economic changes throughout the area. The transformation from an industrial estate is rather remarkable, and while this has had many advantages for the area, some are still worried that it has hurt the character of the place itself.

Before the project began, Hackney Wick was largely closed off from the rest of London. When the work began, this was changed and made getting into other parts of London a lot more accessible. Even though this had been planned since well before the Olympics were announced to be coming to the UK, some still believe that the Olympic project is to blame for Hackney Wick no longer having a forgotten feel to it. For some, this may be a positive as it brings this Hackney Wick together with the rest of London and showcases more of London to the tourists. However, at the same time, many other people would argue that this is not what the place was supposed to be and the Olympics have ruined this secluded little area of East London.

This shows that the Olympic legacy may not be positive in every situation, but it always depends on who you talk to.

History Of East London And How It’s Changed

East London has always been one of the poorest areas of the city. Interestingly, the East End actually sits outside what the Romans knew as London, and it has always been made up of small villages. It used to be full of green fields and open space before the towns and roads were built there. Up until the end of the second world war, East London consisted of slums and this did not change until after the war. Much of East London had been bombed and had to be rebuilt, meaning that the slums were gone and places with better conditions were built.

Canary Wharf is home to some of the greatest banking and finance industries in London. The east London architects built some of the most impressive buildings in this sector, and there is further building beginning again in this area.

Many of the traditional industries left during the 1980’s in East London, but it managed to reinvent itself as a hub of London life. East London has been slowly developing since the war, and the Olympics were just one part of this, though the change was substantial. The hub has grown thanks to the addition of the Olympic Park and East Village. Tourists have been flocking to this area where as before, they would have typically stayed in and around the centre of London. The Olympics accomplished something that East London has been trying to do for decades: it became popular with tourists, and it received a much-needed regeneration.

Creative Industries In East London

The creative industry is booming in East London now more than ever. With a range of furniture shops, advertising companies, east London architects and so much more to explore, there is a wealth of exciting possibilities. Historically this was not always the case due to this part of London being mostly poor and in poverty for large amounts of the past. In recent decades, East London has evolved and grown, becoming increasingly more popular for tourists. The Olympics really kicked this up a gear, bringing more people to this part of the city and showing off the creative side of East London.

Isokon is one of the companies that is at the forefront of the creative industries in East London. Their furniture collection is timelessly popular and became even more so when the residential buildings in East Village became more available to the public. Their modern range is popular with mid-Century furniture aficionados and contemporary lovers alike. Isokon furniture is located in Hackney Wick and has added to the creative life to this small part of East London.

A few years ago, East London was covered in colourful graffiti to the point where it could be seen on or near every building. It was this beautiful street art that represented the culture of small places like Hackney Wick. However, some people believe that the Olympic legacy is actually stamping out this part of the gritty creative culture. The graffiti that was painted by local artists was removed and replaced with specially commissioned pieces from international artists. The concept was to ‘clean up’ places like Hackney Wick in time for the Olympics, but for many who live there it was the end of something beautiful that they adored.

We, Scenario Architecture, have been based in this region of London since the formation of the company. With an extensive portfolio of completed residential projects throughout East London over more than a decade, we see this part of London as our backyard. Our clients have made us the East London architects of choice: changing East London’s architectural landscape house by house.

Stratford: Evolving Into A Centre For Living

It was believed in 2005 that Stratford was going to become a powerhouse and while this never came to pass back then, it is certainly fast transforming into a centre for living now. The Manhattan Loft Gardens is the tallest, not to mention the most expensive building in Stratford. Prices to live here are double what they are in other areas of Stratford. The high price is due to the fact that this building overlooks the Olympic Park, a view that anyone would love to see from their windows.

The 2012 London Olympics brought a lot of regeneration for areas like Stratford, but it seems to be the case that this came at a cost that not everyone could afford. The Olympics saw housing prices in this area skyrocket, and left many stunned. However, with the range of new shops being built and other shopping outlets not too far away, shopping in East London has never been better.

A whole host of new jobs were created by the Olympics. There were building jobs for the parks and East Village, there were jobs as attendants, and of course, more jobs in general as more industries were taking off at this time. Many companies had to hire more help to keep up with the demand that came flooding in with the Olympics, and the legacy it has left behind is no different. Stratford has flourished since 2012, and this is all thanks to the business that the Olympics brought in. Since then, Stratford has been known as the capital of the East.

East London has been on a long journey, and one that started well before the Olympics came to the city. But, since 2012, there is no denying that East London has boomed and risen far beyond what it ever has before.

We hope that after reading this article, you really see how the Olympic legacy has transformed East London. Certainly for the better, the Olympic mega-project has propelled East London into the 21st century with the rest of the capital and has boosted tourism quite substantially.

Header image courtesy Martin Hesketh