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Olympic Substation wins top medal in 2010 Brick Awards


An electrical substation, built as a key part of the utilities infrastructure in the Olympic Park, has won the award for the best brickwork in Britain.

The external substation, hailed as a great success and an inspired piece of commissioning, beat off hundreds of competitors to take the prestigious Supreme Winner at the 2010 Brick Awards, held at the Marriott Grosvenor Square Hotel in London on 3rd November.

The Brick Awards is one of Britain’s most respected design competitions. Organised by the Brick Development Association, the annual contest provides the definitive showcase for what brick can do. This year, there were a record number of entries, with projects from right across the globe.

Bob Allies, Chairman of the Judging Panel and partner, Allies and Morrison, comments: “This remarkable building demonstrates many ways in which brick can be used. The precision and clarity of the expression persuaded the judging panel that it deserved the ‘best of the best’ award. It will provide an enduring legacy on the Olympic site.”

A clear emphasis was put on the architectural designs of the substation to ensure the structure fits in with the design of the wider Olympic Park. The use of more than 130,000 of Ibstock’s Aldridge Himley Ebony Black bricks in the design, also reflects the traditional use of dark brick stock as window and corner details on the former Kings Yard industrial buildings on the site where the new substation has been built.

With sustainability considerations at the heart of the substation design through the reuse of materials from the demolition of the former Kings Yard buildings, the judges were struck by the way the architects, NORD Architecture, managed to reduce the area of a standard substation by a third and within the cost limits.

The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) and Design for London (DfL) went on to comment further: “We congratulate the client and architects for producing a real piece of architecture out of an everyday brief. We think this is an object lesson in how even relatively minor parts of the Olympic programme can benefit from committed design thinking.”

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