Adaptability, modularity to underpin ExCel London Phase III

Adaptability, modularity to underpin ExCel London Phase III

World-class exhibition centre ExCel London has secured planning approval for its Phase 3 extension with an ambitious proposal that solidifies it as London’s destination of choice for international and national events.

Lead by Principal Architects, Grimshaw, Phase 3’s extension to existing venue infrastructure will allow it to continually compete globally by offering a modern, flexible space on a vibrant dock-edge. McGregor Coxall led the project’s landscape, urban, and environmental design, proposing a scheme with flexible, modular-based spaces that respond to the needs of the climate emergency, biodiversity, and community access to green areas.

Mike Cowdy, Global Urbanism Leader and UK Studio Director at McGregor Coxall, said:“ExCel presents a high-quality public realm designed to be adaptable, inclusive, uniquely identifiable, cultural in function, and connected as a place,” he said.

“The landscape design takes inspiration from the cargo that once moved through the docks and the transient landscape of trade and nature that have been present over the history of the site. The design approach presents a range of adaptable landscape experiences, embodied through reconfigurable modules that allow for endless arrangements, uses and locations.

“This landscape response catalyses the assembly of the ‘Modular Mile’, a healthy and animated public waterfront condition that encourages active lifestyle choices, varied planting, seating and flexibility to accommodate external events.”

The ‘Modular Mile’ factors usage during and outside of key events, embracing the wider regeneration of the Royal Docks and responds to the aspirations proposed in the Royal Docks Public Realm guide.

A key public space initiative that unifies the scheme is the establishment of ExCeL Square. This generous, flexible, and active public space is designed to accommodate monthly events and social activities for ExCeL visitors and the local community.

Adjacent to the public square is a pocket park that acts as a drawcard for the local community, doubling as a contemporary stormwater management system that implements peripheral Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) systems. Planting strategies support aspirations to revive indigenous landscapes that reclaim the more industrial, human character of the site said Cowdy. “Planters and seating location have been explored and studied to provide biodiversity, interest and respite zones whilst giving the opportunity for users to explore the landscape. Bi-folded interpretative gates located along the dock edge are designed to provide visual interest and flexible use of the dock edge during events,” said Cowdy.

Construction is expected to commence early 2022.Image credit: Grimshaw Architects

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