The pop-up restaurant designed by Carmody Groarke enshrines itself as a glowing angular form in the crepuscular light. Photography by Christian Richters
If Britain’s venerable parliament has been eroded by the emulation of the American presidential model, the late arrival of US-style live debates has certainly proved welcome compensation. Indeed, one of the first televised combats struck a decisive knell: in the 2008 London mayoral campaign, the incumbent Ken Livingstone provoked pantomime boos as he likened his method of winning the 2012 Olympic Games to a card trick.
With the initial nominal budget already quadrupling to £9 billion, Londoners unamused by this whopping sleight went on to crown his rival Boris Johnson with 53 per cent of the vote. Magicians, it seems, reveal their methods at their peril.
And yet Livingstone’s remaining 47 per cent suggested a marked citywide ambivalence towards the issue. Almost as many as were angered actually admired the deviousness in generating the funding for the renewal of a huge neglected area around east London.
Instead of focusing on the ephemera of the Games, politicians emphasised the rhetoric of regeneration; of amenity and infrastructure; of long-term legacies.
Only as people dissented from this narrative did the underlying tensions between connection and isolation become exposed.Communities voiced their displacement, a sentiment that found its tangible emblem in the monochromatic fence that rose to secure the colossal site’s perimeter.
‘A viscous slither of blue,’ as the London chronicler Iain Sinclair described it, ‘like disinfectant running down the slopes of a silver urinal trough’. As the transition got under way he noted the disjunction between imagery and actuality, the barricade unvisualised in computer-generated versions.
‘The current experience, in reality, is all fence,’ he complained in 2008.Now with this infamous barrier largely dismantled or replaced with sunnier decorative hoardings, the time has come to attract attention to Stratford’s work in progress.
Hailed as the ‘largest building site in Europe’, the interim landscape presents a special state of flux. The high-speed rail link from central London (taking only six minutes) has recently opened, yet many of the sporting venues remain silhouetted structures, mere suggestive shapely shells.....via