Wembley Olympic Way and Olympic Steps, London

With the exception of Lords cricket ground, London’s principle sporting Venues are positioned in the suburbs of Wimbledon, Twickenham and Wembley.

The connection between Wembley Park Station and Wembley Stadium over the years has had various interpretations.  From its introduction as Olympic Way for the Games of 1948, it gave access to the Lutyens-esque stadium by John Simpson of 1923; following its demolition in 2002, Foster’s replacement stadium of 2008 proposed a direct ramped connection between station and stadium indifferent to development opportunities on either side; and then in 2003 Rogers’ plan to ground the stadium in its emerging urban context with the introduction of the Boulevard.  In all these initiatives the Pedway as a ramped connection to the concourse has remained.

For 35 days of the year this remote corner of the London Borough of Brent has been invaded by 90,000 visitors and for the rest of the year the emerging population has had to coexist with the dormant infrastructure for such occasions. The ramped approach of the so-called Pedway is typical of this condition, creating an hypothetical barrier between east and west Wembley Park.

Apart from upgrading the approach to the Stadium, an important parallel concern has been to give a sense of place for the day to day and to allow this to coexist with event days.

To this end, our original competition submission proposed two squares at either end of Olympic Way – to the north to clarify the place of arrival at Wembley Park Station and to the south to provide a foreground to the Stadium and to give improved identity to the Civic Centre and the approach to the Boulevard. The demolition of the Pedway was a given and substituted by the Grand staircase.