LONDON: Forget about Wikipedia or Wikileaks for a moment, just think Wiki-art-and-culture . . . because Jimmy Wales was scheduled to open The White Building today across the canal from the Olympic Park writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Wales, founder of Wikipedia, is a fan of the programme which represents one small corner of the wider legacy project constructed around the London Olympic Games.
Some 500 artists beaver away creatively in their workshops and garrets in and around Hackney Wick and Fish Island. The White Building, run by the art charity SPACE, is intended – as SPACE chief exective Anna Harding put it – to “put them on the map.”
Long after Jessica Ennis and Co have left the nerby stadium behind so the cultural community should be enjoying the fruits of regen-eration. An admiring Daniel Moylan, former Kensing-ton Councillor who was Mayor Boris Johnson’s choice for chairman of the London Legacy Develop-ment Corpor-ation, described The White Building concept as “fantastic.”
Moylan’s clear enthusiasm may stem partly from the fact that this is a ‘tomorrow project’ which is up and running in support of the arts for all ages, attainments and aspirationss.
Moylan has other items on his agenda.
The most highly-publicised is the fast-approaching decision on the tenancy of the Olympic Stadium itself. This depended, he said, on the applicant best able to “animate it, bring in people” and run it in a sound financial and managerial basis with a commitment to athletics and sustainability.
“These are not unachievable objectives, with a bit of negotiation,” he said.
Other concerns remain about the major legacy projects within what will become the Queen Elizabeth Park. The volume of housing units has dropped virtually in half from the original estimates and, as Moylan said, a major debate will ensue over how much of the park is free public space and how much is managed facilities.
With that in mind it was startling to hear the chairman of the LLDC concede that he could not, personally, define the concept of legacy.
“We are open for ideas and answers,” said Moylan.
Hopefully Jimmy Wales can take some time out – after having enjoyed the opening Really Wild Show – to direct Moylan towards a helpful section within Wikipedia.
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DDLC news release
Legacy Corporation Launches Cultural Centre Next To Olympic Park
A new cultural centre in London’s most creative district will open its doors this weekend after the London Legacy Development Corporation brought a derelict building back into use.
The Hackney Wick Fish Island Cultural Centre, known as The White Building, is expected to bring thousands of Londoners together through art, education and community activities.
The building, a former print works, includes studio space for artists, event spaces for community use and a cafe with canal side seating next to the Olympic Park run by a local business. The White Building is part of the Legacy Corporation’s work to improve the areas surrounding the future Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, as the Olympic site will be known when it reopens from July 2013.
The Legacy Corporation and the Mayor of London also launched a book called ‘Stitching the Fringe’ which celebrates the White Building as well as other public realm projects created by the Legacy Corporation, the Mayor’s Office and Design for London. Many of these projects were commended by New London Architecture earlier this week, taking the Public Spaces Award at their New London Awards.
Daniel Moylan, Chairman of the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), said: “We will create a stunning Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park after the Games with superb connections to the surrounding communities that will spread the benefits of the investment made into the Olympic site.
“The White Building and our other public realm projects are examples of how we are already delivering an Olympic legacy now. Small interventions like this can make a big difference in building community spirit and improving the quality of areas around the Park. It is another example of how legacy plans are more advanced than any previous Olympic Host City.”
Following a competition, David Kohn Architects , in collaboration with Michael Pawlyn from Exploration Architecture, was commissioned to design the fit out of the two storey building. MUF Architecture/Arts designed the canal-side area which features steps leading from White Post Lane that will double up as seating for outdoors events, space for café seating and opening up the canal-side to the public for the first time.
SPACE, an arts and education charity, with support from Bloomberg, will run and manage the White Building with ongoing support from the Legacy Corporation.
Anna Harding, Chief Executive of SPACE, said: “The White Building is a new sort of space where creative people can come together, with a focus on work at the intersection of art, technology and sustainability. It provides a beacon for an area full of experimentation and artists.
“It places art and artists at the heart of change and opens up the waterfront for public enjoyment. Industrial buildings in this area have housed artists’ studios for decades, The White Building demonstrates that quality buildings and space for artists are worth retaining in regeneration.”
David Kohn, Director of David Kohn Architects which designed the building, said: “We are delighted to have played a part in turning The White Building into an extraordinary new cultural venue. A broad collaboration between the client, end users, tenants and local makers has given the project a unique character that will contribute to keeping Hackney Wick Fish Island a creative destination.”
Early artistic projects in the White Building include Permacultures, an artists’ international residency programme and People Power, a schools programme, both exploring and developing the connection between art, technology and sustainability.
The CRATE café will be run by the team behind The Counter Café on Fish Island. They offer ‘crafted’ food and drink, focusing on local produce, including a pizza oven and beer brewed in an onsite microbrewery.
The building is minutes from Hackney Wick Station, the Press and Broadcast Centre and the Greenway as well as being one of the main routes into the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
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